UPDATE: 6-Year-Old Reinstated as Duck Stamp Champ

The saga continues: Madison Grimm, 6, has been reinstated as the winner of the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest. Grimm was originally declared the winner on April 19 by a panel of five judges; however, after the authenticity of her painting was called into question, she was stripped of her title and 17-year-old Peter Coulter of Washington, Mo., was declared the winner.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) even removed Grimm’s painting from its website. How exactly do you explain that series of events to a 6-year-old?

And it now appears the whole mess was unnecessary. Dan Ashe, director of the USFWS, personally called Grimm’s father to tell him that Madison had been reinstated as contest champion.

At the heart of the controversy is whether Grimm’s use of a graphite transfer—which is apparently a common duck stamp technique—equates to cheating. Robert Lesino, who chaired the Federal Duck Stamp competition until 1993, came to Grimm’s defense prior to the reversal.

“She complied with the rules. It’s unfair. It’s an injustice,” he told the Argus Leader. ““This kind of smacks of ‘We don’t like the fact that she is 6 years old.’”

The USFWS has vowed to clarify the rules of the Junior Duck Stamp Contest for 2014. Here’s hoping that next year the adults will get it right.

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