Family of Fair Royalty Fight Back on Asotin Co. Fair and Rodeo Board’s Decision to Dismiss
ASOTIN, WA —
We're learning more about what led to the dismissal of the Asotin County Fair and Rodeo queen and princess. Family members spoke out Monday at the Asotin County Commissioners meeting on what they feel are wrongdoings on both sides.
Last Wednesday, many around the LC Valley saw a Facebook post from the Asotin County Fair and Rodeo, saying their queen and princess for the upcoming event had been dismissed. The vote was unanimous by the fair board.
"We were told on a social media post that she was removed because of a broken contract. We do not know what part of the contract they refer to as a breach," says Shawn Jackson, dismissed queen Lyvia Jackson’s father.
KLEW News has put in inquiries to obtain that contract, but our calls have not been returned. Both Shawn and his wife Heather say their daughter and princess Racheal Spinelli were wrongfully terminated by the board, and they say the girls did nothing wrong.
“All in all, these girls were failed. This program has had so many girls. I count at least five in the last five years that didn't finish the year. You're telling me there's that many bad girls that couldn't be nurtured like the program's supposed to help develop girls in the community, that's what I thought we were getting into,” says Heather Jackson.
The Jacksons say the liaison between the chaperone and the board, Mackenzie Welch is to blame for the dismissal. They are accusing Welch of misconduct, such as foul language while at community events and meetings, manipulating the chaperone, and drinking at events, among other things. But Welch denies those accusations. She sent in a statement to KLEW News which in part read:
“The allegations made against me are untrue. Those who are unhappy with the Asotin County Fair Board's decision should know that I am merely one member of the board that voted unanimously. I am a volunteer who spends countless hours of my own time, without pay, to make the Asotin County Fair and Hells Canyon Rodeo a quality event to support the children and community.”
Joyce Taylor, dismissed princess Racheal Spinelli's grandmother, also added onto Welch's statement.
“The Spinelli family is not supporting the efforts of Heather Jackson. We feel our family, the chaperone, and the liaisons were manipulated by Heather. At no point, did the chaperone bully the royalty. We have accepted the board's decision to ask the royalty to resign. We understand that we broke a rule in the contract,” says Taylor.
The Jacksons stick by their accusations, and urge the County Commissioners to take action.
“We are asking that Lyvia be reinstated. These girls' names should be cleared. They should not be held accountable for adults acting poorly,” adds Heather Jackson.
The County Commissioners will be speaking about the matter amongst themselves, but they say the decision may not change.
“We almost always back our board though, advisory committees, unless it's blatant, illegal activity or something. But we'll look into this, we always do,” says Commissioner Chris Seubert.
The Jacksons say they are considering taking legal counsel. The fair board is set to meet sometime this week. There is still no word on what parts of the contract were broken.