One-time Miss Delaware Amanda Longacre is suing state pageant officials and the Miss America organization for stripping her of her title in June for being too old.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Longacre is seeking to be reinstated as Miss Delaware and to be allowed to compete in the Miss America pageant. She also is seeking $500,000 in damages for herself and $2.5 million for other contestants who she claims were recruited to compete in pageants before being told they were too old.
Pageant officials say contestants must be between 17 and 24. Longacre turns 25 in October, after this year's national pageant, but the rules purportedly require contestants to be no older than 24 at year's end.
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Longacre, of Bear, was crowned Miss Delaware June 14, edging out runner-up Brittany Lewis, of Wilmington
. She was awarded the crown, a scholarship, and the chance to compete in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City in September.
But most of it came crashing down when organizers told her she was being disqualified because she was too old. The pageant did say she will be allowed to keep the $9,000 in scholarship money she was awarded with the crown.
Pageant board member and legal counsel Elizabeth Soucek said it's a "Miss America rule" that entrants could not turn 25 before Dec. 31.
State and national pageant representatives did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
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