The Mr. Homer beauty pageant doesn’t have many rules. Based on this year’s winner, Mr. Homer doesn’t even have to be a mister.
It isn't your typical beauty pageant, says organizer Dax Radtke.
“Weirdness, stupid answers, really bad contestants and a crazy host,” he said, describing the event.
Radtke has been organizing the pageant for the past three years. Despite personal setbacks, he said he has continued the tradition because he enjoys making people laugh.
“I’m fighting stage four cancer and winning the battle. I assume there’s a reason I’m still here,” said Radtke.
Beginning in the 1950s, the town hosted a Miss Homer pageant. The competition, which was open to high school senior girls, was a major community event for about three decades. It ended in the early 1980s.
Radtke revived the tradition in 2014, dubbing it the Mr. Homer pageant. But this year the event came full circle, when Trisha Lynn Wilson beat out four male contestants to become the first female Mr. Homer.
Having a woman crowned Mr. Homer is in line with the irreverent tone of the event.
“They didn’t have enough time to put a sign together, so they wrote 'Mr. Homer' in dirt on the side of the car. It just kind of sums up our wonderful little town,” said host Darrel Oliver, describing a previous Mr. Homer Winter Carnival parade float.
Like most pageants, the competition proceeded through three rounds. First, Oliver asked the contestants a series of unusual interview questions, including their favorite recipes for moose. At least one interview question touched on personal hygiene.
“Mr. Homer will be required to wear deodorant at all functions. Can you handle that?” Oliver asked one contestant.
Next came the talent competition. Whether it was pencil-breaking karate moves or a pirate performing sea shanties, there was a little something for everyone.
Once again, however, Wilson stole the show. Using an assistant, she demonstrated the 'Homer haircut,' slapping a baseball cap on top of his head.
In the swimwear competition, only a single contestant, Garret Brooks, donned an actual bathing suit. The rest pushed the boundaries of swimwear, wearing everything from cargo shorts to Scandinavian mesh long johns.
“Look at that pose,” said Oliver, as Brooks modeled a red Speedo and a pirate hat.
The judges conferred briefly before selecting Wilson as the new Mr. Homer. The outgoing Mr. Homer, Eric Schreier, gave her not one but two ceremonial keys to the city and the official pageant sash.
Wilson rode in last weekend’s Winter Carnival parade and will represent Homer over the next year at a number of community events.