Mysterious scandal roils Hudson, Wis., pageant

Two Hudson Ambassadors have been removed from their role representing the Wisconsin city and nobody seems to know why except the organization that sponsors the royalty program. And it’s not talking.

The Hudson Star-Observer says Maddie Zabel and Rachel McKenzie, who were crowned as two of the four ambassadors last summer, were removed from the royal court in a unanimous decision by the board.

“They just were not a fit for the program,” organization president April Simmons said.


There lies the mystery.

“We’ve got daughters here who, they were in tears and have been since, and they’re looking to us for questions, and I’ve got no answers,” Matt Zabel said.

The ambassadors were not given a hearing nor told what the problem is other than their actions at the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

“When we asked for specific details as to what happened at Winter Carnival they refused to give any and specifically stated they were not required to give any,” Melissa Zabel tells the paper.

“If the girls had blatantly done something, we hold our girls accountable and would have said you know what, you did that, this is the consequence,” Melissa Zabel said. “But the fact that we’ve not been given anything that they’ve done, we have no way to work through this with our girls or with ourselves.”

Back to Simmons:

“Situations that happened that came to our attention.”

What situations, the newspaper asked.

There was no further reasoning that anybody else needs to know, it says Simmons replied.

“We know high school girls,” Simmons said, “and there are some things that just don’t work.”

Melissa Zabel seemed to suggest that maybe a problem was that the girls didn’t hang out enough with all the other Hudson Ambassadors, but that’s not a requirement of the gig.

“We’re looking at a youth organization that’s supposed to be empowering our children and helping them develop problem-solving skills, helping them become leaders in the community and they’ve given the girls absolutely no reason for the dismissal and they made the decision prior to talking to either of our girls,” Tammy McKenzie said.

“It’s upsetting to me that they seem to have the mentality that if their girls can’t be on, then they want to take the whole program down,” Simmons tells the paper. “It’s a longstanding tradition that I would hate to see go away because of two bitter parents.”

“If we had a reason, we’d be able to handle it,” Melissa Zabel said.

Two other Hudson girls have replaced the now-former ambassadors.

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