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Pageant Sponsor Orders 9-Year-Old Girl Stripped of Title

February 2, 1993

STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. (AP) _ A 9-year-old girl has found a beast lurking under the beauty pageant business.

A pageant sponsor has taken away Ashley Kinard’s Little Miss Georgia title, and is suing the child’s mother because the girl represented another pageant.

The sponsor, Starlite USA, says that Ashley broke the contest rules when she sang at the weekend-long Jonesboro 22nd Fall Arts and Crafts Festival on Oct. 10, representing the Prestige Pageants USA as ″1992 National Overall Most Beautiful″ queen.

Her performance came the day before her scheduled appearance at the festival as Little Miss Georgia.

The company is seeking $744 from Ashley’s mother, Gail Kinard, much of which represents awards Ashley won as Little Miss Georgia and which the family refuses to return: a title banner, trophy, crown, scepter and baseball jacket.

A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled in Henry County Magistrate Court for Feb. 9.

″All I understand is that my title has been taken away from me and I won’t give back my title,″ said Ashley, a forth-grader who lives in this community south of Atlanta.

She and her parents say she performed on two separate days and is entitled to keep her crown.

But Starlite officials disagree.

″Ashley has been doing this since she was 6 weeks old,″ said Jan Kennedy, executive director for Starlite. ″(Mrs. Kinard) is extremely familiar with the system. She knows the rules and knows very well she broke them.″

Mrs. Kinard and her husband, John, have demanded a written apology for what they call a vicious attack on their daughter.

″They’re having a battle royal,″ said Kinard, a self-employed house mover, ″and Ashley’s getting the shaft.″

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