It's been a longtime tradition in Hoopeston. Now, the Vermilion County community is reeling from a recent decision by the Miss America Organization. And – the reaction is both anger and frustration.
The Miss America Organization says the contestants in its competition can no longer be involved in other such-competitions. And that means the popular National Sweetheart Pageant, held during the Labor Day Weekend in Hoopeston, can no longer welcome the young ladies who visit and participate in the annual Hoopeston pageant.
And there's a lot of questions as to why ?
As first reported in the Hoopeston Chronicle, organizers of the National Sweetheart Pageant in Hoopeston say they could be forced to make major changes since the Miss America Organization is no longer allowing those contestants to take part.
Many of the young ladies in Hoopeston's Sweetheart Pageant are runners-up in their own state competition. The Sweetheart Pageant has long been a stepping stone for girls competing to be Miss America.
The tradition dates back to 1939.
The Miss America Organization updated the contracts their contestants sign. The rules state contestants and judges will not be welcome in the Miss America Organization unless they're not tied to other competitions.
Cliff and Michelle Crabtree of Hoopeston have been the pageant's executive directors for ten years. They can't figure out or understand why the rules have changed, when the Sweetheart pageant has made sure it follows the rules.
Hoopeston's 73-year tradition is in jeopardy of being pushed aside by new rules that "seem to make little sense" to anyone.
Hoopeston organizers say they've made changes that benefit all concerned...benefitting the girls competing, the community and other volunteers.
A meeting this week will try to figure it out and get answers.
Nine girls who have taken part in the Sweetheart Pageant have moved on to become Miss America. Published reports claim there have been 90 Miss American winners, which translates into 10% have competed in the National Sweetheart Pageant.