Miss USA's Hometown Reacts to Trump's Decision

By: Phil Pendleton, Bureau Chief
By: Phil Pendleton, Bureau Chief

Russell Springs, KY (WVLT) - Miss USA, a Kentucky woman who just turned 21, is getting a second chance.

Pageant co-owner Donald Trump said, despite Tara Conner's partying behavior and underage drinking, she will keep her crown.

"I am willing to do whatever it takes, not only to have time to better myself but to better me as a Miss USA. And I plan on walking out of this, the best Miss USA that you've ever seen," says Conner.

Conner will have to stay in a rehab program to keep her crown.

If she makes the slightest mistake, Trump says she will be "fired".

Trump adds, Conner can do a "tremendous service to young people" by overcoming her problems.

Tara Conner's troubles have been the talk of the town in Russell County, Kentucky the past few days.

Volunteer TV's Phil Pendleton, takes you to this community filled with both pride and concern for their hometown girl.

Last Thursday began a terrible time for Tara Conner's family, word out of New York that Conner was drinking, partying, and engaging in questionable behavior.

"A nightmare. Of course we were hoping none of it was true, but still she knows she's got family here," Tara's aunt Mitzi says neither she nor Tara's parents knew what Donald Trump was going to say Tuesday. "No we didn't know. We were just hoping."

Tears and sighs of relief followed. Many watched the live announcement.

And some were heard clapping when it was said Conner would keep her crown.

"I think it's wonderful. I mean she's really a sweet girl. Everyone makes mistakes. She's still our girl," says Russell Springs resident Jinece Goodman.

As Miss USA Tara's platform was breast cancer. Now people here say what has happened to her in the last couple of months could give her another platform in helping young people with the temptations of underage drinking.

Conner's faults are those other young people say they could very easily fall into.

"She probably did what any other teen would do...what I would do. go out, experiment life, see what everything is about," says Sarah Powell, a friend of Conner.

"We're sure she is going to turn this around and make it an even bigger thing than before. She will be a better Miss USA, than she would have been to begin with," says Carrie Janes, from Chantilly Formal Wear.

"This could possibly teach other girls in the future a good lesson," a lesson Mitzi Conner hopes her own daughter pays attention to, should she follow in her cousin's footsteps.

Contrary to some reports from New York, Conner's aunt says Tara never left New York in the wake of the accusations.


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