Two months after going home with the first runner-up crown and trophy, Lisa Rademacher will soon step back into her brown evening gown to become Miss Springfield 2006.
“When they called us about the ceremony, that’s when I found out,” said Lisa, a 2006 graduate of Lee High School who will study marine biology and film at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington this fall.
The Miss Springfield pageant, traditionally the start of the Springfield Days festival, was thrown into a bit of a whirlwind earlier this year when the initial winner, Ashley Linder, was asked to give back the crown less than 24 hours after she won it, due to complaints about inappropriate content on her MySpace.com Web site. Lisa, as first-runner up, will assume the role during a ceremony in August.
“We got the call about two weeks ago,” said Donna Rademacher, Lisa’s mother, who said they “didn’t know anything” about Ashley Linder being asked to step down “outside of what we read. Lisa never talked to anyone else in the pageant after it was over. We didn’t know (Ashley) personally.”
THIS WAS LISA'S fourth pageant, she began with a Miss Teen Virginia competition when she was in 10th grade and received a letter in school saying that she qualified for the contest because of her grades.
“I’ve never placed in the top 10 in the other pageants, which is where they start handing out trophies,” Lisa said. “I was really happy to win first runner-up, it was a big deal. I was very happy with that.”
And now, to be crowned Miss Springfield, Lisa said she’s surprised. "I’m happy too, I think anyone would be. I’m happy to step up.”
While preparing to begin college, the Rademacher family has been out of town on vacation for most of the summer, so Lisa isn’t sure what her duties will be while serving as Miss Springfield until next June.
“I’m sure they’ll tell me when I go,” she said. The ceremony will take place in early August, although neither Lisa nor her mother were sure when or where it will occur.
“It’s been confusing for us,” Donna Rademacher said.
The first hint that something might be wrong came during the Springfield Days parade. Traditionally, Miss Springfield rides in a convertible and is followed by the other contestants, who are invited to walk along the parade route.
“We got there to find Ashley and the other girls, but no one was there,” Donna Rademacher said. “We were told nothing, but Lisa wanted to walk in the parade.”
“I was walking between the Boy Scouts and the dogs,” Lisa said. “That was a lot of fun.”
Details of the next few weeks may be unclear, but Lisa is excited about becoming Miss Springfield and hopes to be able to attend some events on weekends home from school.
“It’s a five-hour drive from college, so if there’s something going on over the weekend, I’ll be able to come home for it,” she said.
Donna Rademacher said she hopes those responsible for the pageant will provide a bit of a ceremony for Lisa when she gets her crown.
“We had some family members who couldn’t be there that night, but they’d be able to be with her this time,” she said. “We’re excited for her.”
The Rademachers weren’t sure if Lisa will have to give up her first runner-up trophy, which stands over two feet tall, when she accepts the crown.
Pageant coordinator Tammy Shapiro was unable to be reached for comment when The Connection went to press. Nancy-jo Manney, executive director for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, who served as one of the judges in this year's pageant, said she had no information about when Lisa Rademacher would be receiving her crown.
John Pellegrin, an attorney who represents the Miss Springfield Pageant committee, said Lisa will be receiving the $1,000 scholarship that goes along with the title.