Questions Still Linger After Heated Fair and Rodeo Board Meeting
ASOTIN, WA —
With the Asotin County Fair and Rodeo around a month away, uncertainty hangs heavy about who will represent on the royal court after the queen and princess were dethroned earlier this month.
For 77 years, the Asotin County Fair and Rodeo have been delighting people of all ages, but at Thursday night's packed meeting, fun was not on the agenda.
At one point, President Peggy Hansford had to adjourn the meeting after a public outburst filled the room with shouting. A five-minute recess, instead of that adjournment, was the only break in a nearly hour-long public input session. Numerous members of the overflowing crowd spoke about their anger at the board for their February 28th closed door decision to dethrone the 2018 queen and princess.
An ex-board member said, "I didn't approve of and like when I was on the board was hiding behind executive meetings. They're not personnel. They're kids."
Around 20 people stood up to ask the board to reinstate the girls, offer solutions like forming a royalty committee, or voice concern about the 20-year-old chaperone.
"On Wednesday night, my worst nightmare happened and I am beyond devastated and heartbroken. It is extremely difficult to get out of bed. My world is shattered and i am in shock." Those words were written by dismissed queen Lyvia Jackson, who said she still doesn't know what she did to lose her crown. Her fellow former court member, Rachael Spinelli, had a different take.
"I was hurt by the other royalty member and her mother. They were saying bad, rude things about me and tearing me down every single day," the 15-year-old said, fighting back tears.
With some allusion to hurtful text messages and cyberbullying, the only thing clear was that both girls feel harassed following their dismissal.
Before that five-minute break, an outburst of questions, exclusively about what happened to prompt the dismissal, were met with, "We'll address that after recess."
The dust has not yet settled after the battle royale, and those questions still linger. The board didn't discuss the issue of reinstatement or address the cries of "Why?" or "What happened?"
The board president, Peggy Hansford, says they will make a decision about reinstating the former court at their next meeting on Wednesday, March 14th.
A tryout to replace the girls was scheduled for Saturday, though the posting for the event was removed from the Fair and Rodeo Boards website. The board has also taken down their Facebook page.
- Several sponsors advised they'd pull out given the "dysfunction" they're seeing within the program
- Businessman and dismissed queen's grandfather Kelly Jackson offered to put up first $5,000 to fund a new royalty program
- Dismissed queen's mother claims fair board "cyberbullied" her daughter by posting decision on social media
- Family members of both girls say they'd like to be reinstated