Judge strips taco-eating Texas beauty queen of crown
SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - A teenaged Texas beauty queen accused by contest sponsors of infractions including gaining too much weight by eating tacos was stripped of her crown on Wednesday.
State District Judge Cathy Stryker rejected 17-year-old Domonique Ramirez's request for a court order to keep her Miss San Antonio title, and allowed the pageant to award the crown to First Runner Up Ashley Dixon, 21.
"We are fortunate that in Miss Dixon we have a talented, mature young woman who will encourage and serve as a positive role model for our youth," pageant president Linda Woods told reporters outside the courtroom.
A two-week court drama over the Miss San Antonio title, including Wednesday's hearing, took on some aspects of a made-for-television movie.
Ramirez's lawyer Luis Vera said his client had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance late on Tuesday, suffering from symptoms of pneumonia brought on by the stress of spending five hours on the witness stand that day.
"They diagnosed her with pneumonia, they gave her an IV and sent her home and she is now resting," Vera said.
Woods and the Miss San Antonio organization stripped Ramirez of her crown in late January, charging that she was late to personal appearances, took part in at least one modeling engagement not sanctioned by the organization and, according to Woods, gained weight by eating "too many tacos."
Her contract required the 129-pound Ramirez to stay at the same weight as the day she won the pageant.
Woods said Ramirez had been given a written warning.
On Tuesday, when Ramirez was asked during her testimony about her late arrival to pageant appearances, she cited scheduling errors, the pageant's failure to provide her with a chaperone and traffic delays.
Stryker set March 14 as the date for a trial if Ramirez wants to continue her lawsuit against the organization.
The Miss San Antonio title carries with it a scholarship, a position in the Miss Texas pageant and potentially in the Miss America competition, as well as a lead role in San Antonio's high-society Fiesta week celebrations in April.
(Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Peter Bohan)
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