Samson girl booted from peanut pageant

Brittany Bowdoin beamed as she watched her six-year-old daughter crowned Little Miss Samson and, so she thought, headed to compete for the coveted Little Miss National Peanut Festival title in Dothan.
The decision came just hours before the deadline to enter this year's pageant.
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 4:30 AM CDT
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SAMSON, Ala. (WTVY) -Brittany Bowdoin beamed as she watched her six-year-old daughter crowned Little Miss Samson and headed to compete for the coveted Little Miss National Peanut Festival title in Dothan---so she thought.

But then the Samson pageant’s director said Brynlee Bowdoin would not be allowed to move on because another contestant’s paperwork had been submitted late, a decision that left Brittany stunned and heartbroken.

“Instead of getting to enjoy my daughter’s victory, I had to watch her rejection,” Brittany told WTVY News 4 on Thursday.

A tardy entry form is the reason results were declared null and void.

Qualifying paperwork, including a notarized document, had to be turned in by the first practice at 5:30 on April 7, said Samson Pageant Director Terri King.

“My position is that we had local rules and they were printed and given to the mothers, and I discussed the matter with them to make sure they understood,” King said.

While Brynlee’s paperwork was completed by the deadline, another entry didn’t make it in time.

She doesn’t deny the document was tardy, but claims without her support the Samson pageant would not have taken place.

Little Miss Samson rules state there must be at least three entries but, as the pageant approached, Brynlee Bowdoin was the only one.

So, her mom recruited two other candidates.

“I paid the $60 entry fee for one of them, as well as paying for her dresses and makeup,” she said.

With three candidates finally on board, those girls took the stage on April 9, with Brynlee capturing the crown.

However, notarized paperwork for the girl that Brittany helped enter and subsidized was not submitted until after the event.

King said that violated rules.

“I have been doing this pageant for 30 years and for the past 25 or so (of those years) (the pre-pageant deadline) has been the rule.”

Though the event went on, King said pageant results voided because only two qualified contestants competed.

The National Peanut Festival’s office manager said NPF does not get involved in local pageants—there are dozens of them--provided Festival guidelines are followed.

But Carrie Cavendar, who has worked with the festival for more than 30 years, supports King’s decision.

“What has happened in the past is contestant paperwork was not submitted before the event, then when the contestant fails to win it is never submitted,” Cavendar said.

Samson Mayor Clay King notified Cavendar that the results had been negated. Clay King is Terri King’s brother-in-law.

“I feel sorry for that child,” Terri King said, but reiterated that Brittany Bowdoin had been explained the rules in explicit detail and didn’t follow them.

Brittany Bowdoin said Terri King never absolutely said her daughter could not compete in Little Miss NPF, so she still had hope and began calling King immediately after. As this Friday’s deadline to enter the pageant approached, King failed to return her call until Tuesday.

By then, it had become too late for her daughter to enter another qualifying pageant, which would have given her a second shot at Little Miss Peanut, Brittany said.

Copyright 2022 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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