Media personality Mason Mousette wants credit where credit is due. Mason was able to track down a mystery contestant who went viral after sweeping the Virginia-Kentucky District Fair but claims the Today Show did not acknowledge her contributions when featuring the person on air.
The fair recently posted the results of its June 13 cooking competition on Facebook, revealing a woman named Linda Skeens won more than 25 of 80 contest categories. That's when her online fans began searching in ernest pursuit of her.
Still, no one could track down Linda Skeens. The Virginia-Kentucky District Fair, held in Wise, Virginia, since 1913, did not provide any additional details about the woman. That's where Mousette came in. The Dallas radio host uploaded a recent TikTok that begins with the text overlay, "The Today Show doesn't want me to be great." She then begins, "Put a finger down if the Today Show screwed you big time today."
"Remember a little while ago, when everyone was trying to find Ms. Linda Skeens, the woman who killed it at the local county fair? Just winning everything?" Mousette remarked."Everyone was like, where's Linda? We gotta find Linda. And I was like, this sounds like a job for me."
She told The Washington Post that Skeens' sudden rise to fame attracted her to the search. "I just found it fascinating," said Moussette. "How did she do so well in so many categories? I wanted to know the story of this woman."
Upon sharing a TikTok video asking about the woman's whereabouts, Franki Skeens, the granddaughter of the real Linda Skeens, eventually noticed caught wind of it. The clip, which has over 730,000 views, caused Skeens's story to spread across social media like wildfire. After the search went viral, Franki connected her grandmother with Mason, who went on to tell her 1.1 million followers, "I found her" in her latest TikTok upload. "I found her on June 28 and I interviewed her from a radio show here in Dallas."
"Well, according to the Today Show, that didn't happen. They found her," explained Mason, referring to Skeen's appearance on the July 21 edition of the morning program. She played a video of the show on her computer, during which a host can be heard saying, "We put our investigative skills to the test, and as you can see, we found her."
"Oh, did you?" Mason remarked to her viewers. "You found her? I must have hallucinated the whole thing."Adding that she was "trying not to be a bitter Betty about it," Mason said, "they did put my face on the screen for like 2 seconds from my TikTok." Followed by, "Of course, they didn't credit my TikTok and didn't say that they contacted me for her information."
"But it's fine, it's totally fine, she reassured her followers. "Honestly, I'm just happy that she's getting the credit she deserves. Because she's a very sweet lady, she'd never been on an airplane before, and they really pulled out all the stops for her." Mason concluded, "I was just hoping, you know..little journalistic integrity."
Skeens went viral after taking home first, second and third prize for best cookies at the Virginia fair and sweeping all three awards for candy and savory bread. She also won the blue ribbon for cake, pie, brownie, sweet bread, and best overall baked good (for strawberry fudge). In addition, Skeens won for canned tomatoes, canned corn, pickled peppers, sauerkraut, relish, spaghetti sauce, jelly, and jam. Her quilt embroidery won top honors as well.
In their interview, Skeens told Mason she was diagnosed with leukemia in December, but the treatment she's taking is helping, and she cooks for family and friends. 33-year-old granddaughter Franki told The Washington Post her family wasn't surprised by Skeens's many victories at the Virginia-Kentucky District Fair, despite her sudden fame. "To us, it's nothing new because Mamaw has done it for years," she said.