Homer resident Mrs. Alaska Vicki Sarber handed out glacier water in special commemorative bottles, and wore borrowed snow shoes with a fur parka in 90-degree weather where the bikini competition mattered.
And she managed to win, beating out all other 49 states to become Mrs. America. Next, she will represent the Unites States in the Mrs. World competition.
The Homer mother of three was crowned last week in Tucson, Ariz., in a contest that looks to symbolize success in marriage and family life.
“I’m what you see, is what you get,” Sarber said, upon returning to Homer Monday. “I felt so very honored. I spoke from my heart and kept it in perspective. The feedback from the judges was that I am the complete package, and I am a package deal. I come with my husband and my family. My family is first.”
Nevertheless, the intense experience concluded in a total surprise that the Sarbers tried to “bend their minds around” when she and husband Greg spent two days in Seattle to unwind. “We were sitting there, trying to absorb what happened. I had done a lot of phone interviews, talking to people. It was exciting and a blur.”
The pageant takes place at the Loews Ventana Tanning Resort, a whirlwind week of rehearsals. “Non-stop rehearsals and meeting with the 50 most outstanding women I’ve ever met,” she said.
Sarber was relieved there were no singing routines, (“I can’t carry a tune.”) But the dance routines were rigorous, and as it turned out, fun. The choreographers were a pair of twins from Hollywood named Frit and Frat.
“They were hilarious. They were just an amazing talent, finishing each other’s sentences as if they shared a mind. I could have taken them home with me,” Sarber said.
The contest had various portions to be judged, including dance numbers, evening grown and bathing suit presentations, and interviews.
For the costume portion, Sarber brought a blue parka trimmed in white fur from her own wardrobe, and borrowed a pair of snowshoes from the owner of Old Inlet Bookshop, Andy Wills.
“He let me borrow the snow shoes off the wall of his log house. He said, ‘Oh hopefully these will bring you luck,” Sarber said. “I was representing winter in all its majesty.”
Sarber had vowed to try to work Xtra Tuff boots into her pageant costumes, since she spends a lot of time in the boots when she walks the beach or gets around town for children’s activities, but she didn’t find an opportunity.
“In my first interview with (Radio Realty host) Chris Story after the pageant, I told him I couldn’t wait to get back into my boots and get out of the heels. My feet were killing me,” she said.
But she bonded with many other women in the days of closely working together, particularly the A Team, as she called the ladies from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas and her Alaskan self.
“I definitely made life-time friendships with those amazing women,” she said.
Next stop is the Mrs. World Pageant, to take place in as-yet undetermined place. The event is seen as a business, and it is being courted by Israel, Vietnam and Russia, Sarber said.
As for the many gifts and prizes that go with Sarber’s honor, it was so much it could have been hauled home in a truck. Along with the crown, many designer gowns, outfits, purses and jewels returned home with her.
Some of the dresses she can use in the Mrs. World contest. She also gets all her expenses paid to the pageant.
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