POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Polk County girl thought she had won the top title in a statewide pageant this past weekend, but the Miss Rodeo Florida Organization has informed the family that it was a mistake.
Eleven-year-old Macie Shenefield won the title of “Miss Princess” over the weekend.
A few days later, that excitement turned to heartbreak.
After an audit, two girls learned they were not the true winners.
“On Wednesday evening I got a phone call from the president saying that two accountants, on two different girls’ scores, both were incorrect and that my child was no longer the princess,” said Macie’s mother, Christie Shenefield.
“My mom and dad took me out on the back porch and my dad started talking about how the world isn’t fair. I knew something was wrong,” Macie said.
Both families involved are asking event organizers to let the girls share the titles. So far, the organization has declined that request.
“It says their motto is to build confidence in young women and I’m wondering how this is doing that,” Christie said.
8 On Your Side reached out to the Miss Rodeo Florida Organization.
National Director Laura Kessler said they can’t apologize enough, and that the issue was due to scoring errors that were discovered during an audit of the pageant.
The errors were discovered for both the Miss Rodeo Florida Princess and the Miss Rodeo Florida Sweetheart categories.
Kessler said the organization has offered to refund the pageant fees, ad fees and waive entry fees for next year.
The Shenefield family said they want more transparency about what happened, and they are speaking out so other girls don’t have to experience the same thing.
“It makes me feel really sad and kind of angry because they should have corrected the mistake right then and there instead of three days later,” Macie said.