Texas Choice Pageant, TCP, ACPP, Little Miss Pageant, To the Crown Bullied me and my children on & off-line, Kept deposits for canceled pageant San Antonio Texas
We first entered this pageant thinking it would be inexpensive local practice for my daughters who had started competing in high-level natural & scholarship pageants. It does seem inexpensive. You'll see advertisements that say Enter for $5, Only $15 to Enter, Only $10 gets you started. That's where they hook you, but these pageants are actually very, very expensive for what you get. Generally, this is just a deposit and you'll have a balance at the door. IN ALL CASH because she knows people will do chargebacks.
Going off the paperwork (emailed to me 3.5 months after I entered, by the way), each adult has to pay $30 for ballroom entry. Of course, you aren't allowed to take photos of your own child, so you have to buy a MANDATORY PHOTO PACKAGE for $30+. Optional contests are each $30-50, although they are things that are typically included at pageants with up-front fees. To be eligible for their Overall (like Supreme) title, you have to pay an extra $50 PLUS enter a minimum of other optional contests at $30 each. Generally, if you want to walk across the stage more than once (that's often all that's judged for their titles), you'll be bleeding money. They you have to pay a “scholarship” fee of $20 or so that will be the award money for the winner. Usually, they don’t get it because as I’ll explain below, it comes with many hoops to jump through.
Then they'll want you do donate something. It may be cash, it may be a toy or other gift... they then gift this to someone. Maybe an outgoing queen, maybe a charity, (maybe themselves, I really don't know). Basically, these donations are used to make themselves look good. It's a joke, though. They gifted a 5 year old a curling iron?! No thought goes into this what-so-ever. They even have contestants bring party favors that they can hand out at their parties. At other pageants, the girls hand out favors, at this pageant, the director does this so she can get the thanks. I’ve seen her literally take gifts from a preschool queen’s gift bag to give to someone else. I nearly threw up there in the cheap ballroom.
The age divisions are broken out into 1-3 year age gaps. This makes it appear that those costly optional awards are per age division. In fact, the paperwork says this. However, they group the age divisions, so 4 year olds are competing against 9 year olds for portfolio, photogenic, fashion, specialty wear, talent, whatever. This is so cheap. The awards that they give out are tiny trophies or cheap medals. They should be able to afford an additional cheap award.
The same girls win these pageants year after year, pageant after pageant. Often, these girls don’t do well in other systems at all and somehow beat girls who win big national titles at MAC, NAM, IJM, and legitimate pageants. Judges have literally seen the director swapping scores, and she even gives random bonus points for extra “donations”. When you’re being scored on 1-2 event to find your perfect titleholder, 5 bonus points of butt-kissing really makes a difference, which explains a ton.
They sell titles. Some systems do legitimate appointed titles to get you to the state or national pageant. This pageant sells you a crown and banner (of horrible quality, like thin cheap cotton or ribbon with vinyl lettering) as an upsell. For $100 or whatever it is that day, you get entry to the pageant and the random local crown & banner. Then, when they have awards for divisions that didn’t have winners (these pageants have very low numbers), Sandi literally offers them to anyone who will come up and pay $50, $100, whatever it is that day.
The entry specials are a joke. One day, it’s a special just for returning contestants for $50, the next, it’s the 23rd so the entry fee if you enter today is $23. The poor queens and their families are bullied into promoting these pageants, she sends out messages that she’s going to remove you, ban you, not let you come back to crown, not let you get any prize money owed (she holds it hostage all year so she can bully you into doing free work and promotion for her). The queens are made to look like idiots, given a “special rate” to share to friends & family they refer, then there will be a new, much better “special”. It’s un-real how her moods swing and when you catch “the wrath”, as queens & their families tend to do after some period of time. It’s story after story if you ask anyone in the pageant community about their experience with TCP. TCP is getting such a bad name that shes now been using ACPP.
They do whatever they can to spread the schedule out to get you to book 2 hotel rooms. If you don’t book a room with their group code, you won’t win. They get commissions/kickbacks from these hotels from booking rooms, so why half a half day pageant (that’s all it would take a normal director) when you can space events out and make it a 3-day pageant. Check-in is at night the day before. It’s MANDATORY. Always in lots of obnoxious capital letters. If you miss it you are “disqualified” or have to pay some ridiculous fee of $25-50 (which of course depends on her mood). There are random 2-3 hour breaks in the schedule where everyone just had to sit around in the hotel that’s in BFE so they can drag the last event out until 7-9pm or so, so you have to spend the night that end (or 3rd if it’s state) night. There is no dressing room offered so it’s the only way you can change unless you haul your $600 gown into a crowded bathroom.
So you get through this mess and get crowned a queen. Yay, right? Nope. Time to get to work. You’ll be expected to spam everyone you know constantly with cheezy pageant ads on Facebook constantly. If you don’t, she’ll threaten to strip you of your title, crown & banner (I’d like to see her rip the crown off a 4 year old, really), and that cash award that your fellow contestants and you had to pay. You’ll never see that prize money, don’t even try. Then, you have to bring 5 referrals in or you won’t get recognized as outgoing royalty. A lot of promises will be made. Make X number of appearances and you’ll get this award. You won’t. Send me $100 PayPal so I can “donate it to my homeless aunt” or you’re out.
That brings me to another bit of this scam. There have been random needy people who need donations. Go-fund-me or PayPal links are sent. She tells you to send $100 and she’ll give you a prize. Last year it was at least $100 towards helping get a random woman (who turns out is an “aunt” and she literally only has 1 picture of her looking disheveled in a van) who was homeless get back on her feet. Then you’ll get the jacket prize that’s for referring 5 contestants. This jacket is a cheap $15 satin jacket with the pageants name embroidered on the back. Not even a logo. Then, there’s pictures of her at Disney World the next week, spending the money you just sent her. But, it gets better. She didn’t even have them to award at the state pageant. She bullied moms individually saying their daughter would be the only ones to not get it unless they sent $100. “Don’t worry about the donation thing, that’s over, just buy the jacket for $100 so you won’t make your kid cry”. Then she didn’t give them to ANYONE at the pageant “because the vender didn’t come through”.
She will take deposits for pageants and then cancel them. They she can’t refund you because the “office” is only open during these bizarre hours on a couple days a week. She can reply to say that, but not help you with your refund. Then when you email her during those hours and point it out, then it’s “well, we closed that PayPal account and now we are using XYZ so we can’t refund that”. Kiss your deposits goodbye & run, because it gets even better…
She held a pageant in San Antonio shortly after hurricane Harvey hit. Many contestant’s homes (and competition clothing) was under water and they were stranded in Houston with the roads flooded. Others were hosting displaced family and friends or helping with rescue and recovery efforts. Instead of offering some compassion, she stomped her feet and felt sort for herself and all of the money that wasn’t coming in. She did not offer any of the victims their deposits back. Instead, she posted to facebook that these contestants were offering their deposits to anyone who wanted to take their place. It was an out-right lie. SHE wanted to transfer their deposits to paying contestants instead of no-shows. Then she got scared and started offering more. The dumped the mandatory photo package first. Why? They screws the photographer, not her. The photographer travels with his family from Dallas to shot these things for $30/contestant. If there are 20 contestants, do the math. Now he’s coming down, doing the work, and not sure he’s getting paid. When no one bites again, she said, okay you only have to stay 1 night in the hotel. Then more desperation… you can change in my suite if needed if you only get 1 night. She could have postponed the pageant. She could have had some compassion & helped, but instead she’s worried about how she can’t screw people out of money that weekend.
The LIES. So many lies. I went to a 10th anniversary 1 year and a 15th anniversary the next. Then shes SHOUTING IN ALL CAPS all over facebook that she’s the best director in Texas and has been running a licensed pageant in Texas for 20 years. A) Texas doesn’t license pageants, B) She hasn’t been in business anywhere near 20 years.
She shouts in real life, across ballrooms, at girls, at moms. This whole thing is set up so she can shout and bully people who go along with it because they don’t want to ruin their daughter’s chances of winning and then bully them into a year of misery if they win.
There are so many great, upfront, honest pageant in Texas, stay clear of this one!