The two young women at the center of a beauty queen battle that grabbed headlines across the country will face off once again – this time for the chance to be Miss Texas.
Both Domonique Ramirez, who said she lost her Miss San Antonio crown because of her weight and went to court to win it back, and Ashley Dixon, the runner-up briefly tapped to replace Ramirez, have been invited to compete in the Miss Texas pageant, organizers said Monday.
The 38 Miss Texas contestants include the 17-year-old Ramirez as Miss San Antonio and the 23-year-old Dixon as Miss Bexar County, which encompasses the city. The winner of that pageant, who will be crowned July 1 at the University of Texas at Arlington, will compete for Miss America.
Ramirez’s story caused a major stir in January, when she claimed she was unfairly booted after pageant officials accused her of gaining weight and told her to “get off the tacos.” The pageant insisted weight wasn’t the issue and maintained that the teenager violated her contract with conduct unfitting a beauty queen.
Organizers subsequently awarded the crown to Dixon, but Ramirez sued. Following a week-long trial, a Bexar County jury returned the crown to her March 24.
Valerie Bell, a spokeswoman for the Miss Texas pageant, said the San Antonio franchise could assign another title at any point – which organizers did to make Dixon Miss Bexar County.
“When Domonique’s crown had been contested, they awarded it to Ashley. When Domonique’s crown was restored, they continued to have a crown for Ashley,” Bell said. “It was only fair to allow her to compete. Only fair to allow both to compete.”
Bell said she did not know when the decision to make Dixon Miss Bexar County was made: “Miss Texas doesn’t get involved with the local rules.”
Linda Woods, board president of the Miss Bexar County Organization, which runs the Miss San Antonio pageant, did not return calls seeking comment Monday. Ramirez’s attorney, Luis Vera Jr., also couldn’t be reached.
Bell said Ramirez and Dixon joined contestants from all over the state at an informal meeting where Miss Texas organizers explained the pageant’s schedule and expectations. She said both “were great.”
“The young women from San Antonio are fabulous as are the women from all over the state of Texas,” Bell said.
San Antonio will actually have three women competing for Miss Texas, since Selena Affram, 23, will be in the pageant as Miss Collegiate San Antonio.
Bell brushed aside notions that including both Ramirez and Dixon could reignite the battle for the Miss San Antonio crown.
“We are committed to the ground being equal,” she said. “We don’t want to create hype around anybody that would be unfair to her.”
Woods, the San Antonio pageant organizer, testified during the Ramirez trial that the size-2 teenager showed up to a photo shoot overweight and pictures of her in a bikini were “unusable.”
But she told jurors it wasn’t a few added inches at the waist-line that cost the 5-foot-8, 129-pound college student her crown. Instead, Woods said Ramirez violated her contract by being chronically late for events or not showing up, not writing thank-you notes for gifts and embarrassing the pageant board by turning down vocal coaching from an opera singer.
Ramirez denied gaining weight or being late. Immediately after reclaiming her title, she went to San Antonio’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church to place the crown on its altar as a gift to the patroness.
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