On March 31, Vicki Sarber of Homer took her role as a wife and mother to a larger stage when she was crowned Mrs. Alaska. On Tuesday, Sarber represented married women across the state on an even larger stage in Tucson, Ariz. Among a field of 51 contestants, she was chosen Mrs. America.
Her small-town and Alaska roots were evident among the glitz and glamour. In the costume competition, Sarber wore a parka and carried snowshoes. During the evening gown competition, the short bio read about Sarber noted that she raises chickens.
In the final portion of the pageant, Sarber was asked what she wanted the judges to know about her that they didn't already know.
"Besides the fact that I'm a good fisherman?" asked Sarber, 40, before continuing, "I'm at an age in my life where I'm fully aware of the meaning of life, and it's that standing here as Mrs. Alaska or Ms. Sarber, I'm a package deal. I don't come into this by myself. I have a very supportive and loving family. I think my marriage and family are a very healthy example of what Mrs. America should be."
Her response to that final question made it clear Sarber would bring home the crown, according to Rita Corwin, staff director of the Mrs. Alaska pageant.
"Hands down, after she answered the question, there was no other choice. She gave a wonderful answer," said Corwin.
On their way back to Alaska, Sarber and her husband, Greg, are taking a short break for themselves.
"I'm on cloud nine. ... It's going to take me a little while to wrap my brain around this," Sarber told the Homer News in a telephone interview Friday. "My husband suggested we stop in Seattle a few days to just look at each other and say, 'What just happened?'"
Sarber is a graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle. She and her husband have been married 12 years. The Sarbers and their three children — Jackson, 10; Vianne , 8; and Pinky, 2 — moved to Homer from Anchorage in 2011.
In the state competition in March, Greg Sarber was drawn into the action by being named "Handsome Husband."
"He is my biggest fan, win or lose he is the one who makes me feel beautiful," Sarber said at the time.
Sarber said she could occasionally see her husband in the audience during Tuesday's pageant.
"Once I was crowned, he came up to the stage and I was able to bend down and give him a kiss," she said. "It was an outstanding experience for both of us.
Asked if he wanted to be addressed as "the husband of Mrs. America," Greg Sarber laughingly said, "I prefer 'Captain America.'"
"This is a huge honor," he said.
The purpose of the Mrs. America competition is "emphasizing that America's 70 million married women are extraordinarily beautiful, poised, articulate and versatile," according to information provided by the Mrs. America competition. Her new title means she is an official representative of the Mrs. America corporation.
"I can go about doing what I like to do in my own community, but there are opportunities to fly around the country and speak at different events, other pageants, other national events where I can promote the pageant and the values of the pageant," said Sarber.
Later this year, Sarber will compete in the Mrs. World competition. That pageant includes about 80 women.
"(The venue) is tentative because we're looking at three locations. One is Vietnam, one is Russia and one is Israel," said Corwin.
During the Mrs. America pageant, Sarber also was awarded the Seacrest Woman Award from Seacrest Skin Care Products.
"There's some things you do that you just go into them for the joy and for the message of being married," Sarber said of how she became involved in the Mrs. Alaska and the Mrs. America pageants. "I'm just a little gal from Homer, Alaska. These women were outstanding. To come away with the crown, well, I'm a little on the speechless side."
To see a video of the Mrs. America pageant, visit www.mrsamerica.com.