Truckee woman heading to Mrs. California pageant |

Truckee woman heading to Mrs. California pageant

Lisa Guarino

Truckee resident Elizabeth “Lisa” Guarino is no stranger to pageants. Her mother, Carolyn Niles, was crowned Miss Bloomington (Minn.) in 1965. In 1988, Guarino herself was crowned Miss Teen Iowa.

Now, she has been named Mrs. Truckee and will representing the town in the Mrs. California pageant next May.

The Mrs. California pageant, which Guarino said has been around for approximately 10 years, has mostly been popular in Southern California.

Although Truckee didn’t have an official Mrs. Truckee pageant, several Truckee women – perhaps six or seven, Guarino said – applied to be Mrs. Truckee. Each had to send in a videotape, photographs and an application and the Mrs. California committee chose the winner.

While it is a pageant, Guarino said this one is much different. For starters, the contestants must be married. Each contestant has to have a platform, which she keeps for the entire year as the city titleholder. Also, she said it’s not your average beauty queen type of pageant.

“It’s about families and marriage; It’s not just a pretty-girl contest,” Guarino said. “What I like is you get to have a platform for a year to carry around.”

When crowned Miss Teen Iowa, she was educating people on the risks of drinking and driving. Her platform slogan was, “Think – don’t drive and drink.” She switched platforms for this pageant, but stuck with education. This time around, she is fighting for child literacy.

In fact, she has been working with 826 Valencia, a San Francisco group dedicated to helping children read and write. It was founded by Dave Eggers, a former Pulizter Prize nominee for his book “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.”

Although now she mostly helps out with baking cookies for the kids – she also owns the Tahoe Cookie Company – she said she hopes to get more involved with the reading and writing aspect.

Also, she said she hopes to start making a difference around the Truckee area. “In town, I would like to work with Mrs. Fix (who reads to children at the Truckee Library).”

She is married to Peter, who is obviously proud of her, and has four boys – ages 2, 4, 6 and 8. (She says they are proud of her.)

For now, Guarino half-joked, “I have to work on the platform and find a lot of clothes.” Between now and May, she said she would make appearances dealing with her platform and start “getting in better shape.”

“I will try to be touching as many people’s lives as possible in a positive way,” she added.

One of those ways is participating in a “lock-up” with Truckee Mayor Ted Owens at O.B.’s Pub at 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 30. The only way they will be let out is if donations hit the “bail” mark. The proceeds, although not in her platform, will go towards muscular dystrophy research.

For her platform, Guarino said, “Any time you can spread the word about children’s reading and writing, it’s a good thing.”

Another good thing: she said she gets to carry her platform and the Mrs. Truckee title around for a year, even if she doesn’t win the Mrs. California Pageant.

The pageant will be held in May 2004 in Las Vegas, and will be held along with Miss Teen California and Miss Teen Nevada. The Mrs. California contestants must go through an interview, an evening gown competition and an aerobic-wear competition.

The Tahoe Cookie Company, Guarino said, is located “in Reno and online,” but the cookies can also be found at Truckee’s Tahoe Berry.

For more information on the Mrs. California pageant, visit

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