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Pageant Chooses Its Miss N.C.

September 13, 2002 GMT

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WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) _ And the winner is ... Misty Clymer, who was chosen Thursday to represent North Carolina at the Miss America Pageant over a woman who had given up the state crown over topless photos taken by a boyfriend.

The decision by the Miss America Organization came shortly after a federal judge refused to force it to recognize Rebekah Revels as Miss North Carolina.

``Misty Clymer is the contestant. Rebekah will not be competing in the finals,″ said George Bauer, interim president of the organization. ``Rebekah will be our guest in Atlantic City. We’d like to continue her status as a VIP guest.″


Revels has been participating in rehearsals and preliminary events along with Clymer, her successor as Miss North Carolina, under a temporary order issued by a state judge last week. She was pursuing the federal judge’s ruling compelling the pageant to let her compete for the crown.

U.S. District Judge James Fox refused to issue such an order, leaving it up the Miss America organization whether to exclude her.

Bauer said he was happy that the judge ``understood the Miss America Organization that well. We have very high standards of integrity, no reflection on Rebekah Revels at all. We try to attract the highest quality young women in the country.″

Neither Revels nor Clymer could immediately be reached for comment. Revels was not taking calls in her Atlantic City hotel room. Clymer was with other pageant contestants practicing at Boardwalk Hall.

On Wednesday, Revels said she would be disappointed if Fox ruled against her, ``but I’ve been prepared to pack up and leave since I arrived.″

A new Miss America will be crowned Sept. 21.

Revels resigned in July after a former boyfriend told pageant officials he had two topless snapshots of her. Clymer, 24, the first runner-up, then assumed the title of Miss North Carolina. But Revels later claimed she was unfairly forced to resign, and she went to court to reclaim the title.

The organizers of the North Carolina pageant contended that because of the pictures, Revels breached the morals clause in her contract.

Fox said that it was not clear whether Revels would prevail in her dispute with the national pageant. As a result, he said, he would not compel the national pageant to include her as a contestant in the meantime.


``I’m disappointed,″ said Revels’ lawyer, Barry Nakell. ``He said it was a close call on the likelihood of success. I certainly respect his judgment, although I disagree with it.″

Although Clymer is recognized as Miss North Carolina by Miss America, the state judge’s order means Revels also has the title _ at least until the state pageant lawsuit is heard, Nakell said.

The judge said that the case is about more than whether Revels or Clymer should be in the contest.

``The Miss America pageant over the years, by virtue largely of its contestants, has become a significant part of Americana. In a very real sense, Miss America represents America,″ Fox said.

``There is a public interest in seeing that that image is not tarnished because if it is tarnished there will be fewer contestants, there will be fewer scholarships, there will be fewer ideals to uphold. I don’t think that’s silly. We are a country that admires bravery, courage and integrity. We instill it in our youth.″

The judge had harsh words for Tosh Welch, the ex-boyfriend whose anonymous e-mail to pageant officials prompted Revels to give up her crown.

``The individual involved is below despicable,″ he said.


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