By Teresa Jun, KOLD News 13
The Mrs. America pageant took place at Loews Ventana Canyon resort Wednesday night. As the event showcases 51 women from all of the U.S. states and the District of Columbia, it also showcases the city of Tucson to a national television audience.
Hopes fly high for the 51 state contestants competing for the title of Mrs. America. As these women take center stage, the event also shines a new spotlight on the Old Pueblo.
"It's very exciting," said Diane Tucker, Mrs. Arizona. "We've never had a national pageant here in Tucson, Arizona." Tucker loves the home court advantage, but adds during rehearsal, that the visiting teams are also loving the locale.
"I have a couple girls who've actually called their husbands the first night they were here, and said 'We're moving to Tucson,'" Tucker said.
Even the show's high-profile host, John O'Hurley, seems smitten. "Traditionally, we always try to have the Mrs. America pageant outdoors if we can," O'Hurley said. "And I can't think of a prettier setting than the hills surrounding Tucson."
The Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau has been playing hospitable host for two weeks, organizing outings and tours for the women and pageant crew. "We've had them out horseback riding, to the Desert Museum, to the local restaurants," said Kimberly Schmitz, director of communications for MTCVB.
The outings will be featured within the televised broadcast, allowing Tucson's gems to sparkle on national TV as the glitzy pageant swings through town.
"People love to see beautiful places and then want to go there, so that's what we're hoping for," Schmitz said.
Pageant producers are confident that hope will become reality.
"Last year's show aired on TV 10 times, which is unprecedented," said Bob Mazza, vice-president of the Mrs. America organization. "The rest of the country is definitely going to know Tucson after the show first airs."
It will air in 58 million homes nationwide. And as the nation watches their televisions to cheer on the new Mrs. America, it will be a crowning moment for Tucson as well.
The taped Mrs. America pageant will broadcast on the cable channel WE, the Women's Entertainment network, on September 23.
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