The 100th annual Mrs. America Pageant is the last place you’d expect to see a bike advocacy message. But thanks to Mrs. Oregon, “Share the Road” was front and center at the 2021 event.
Lake Oswego resident Merryn Roberts-Huntley represented Oregon at the nine-day event held in Las Vegas in November. When it came time for the costume portion of the competition, Roberts-Huntley opted against trite feathered butterfly wings and sequined headpieces and instead walked out straddling a tiny balance bike. A tree-lined road was attached to her waist and went up over her head. A “Share the Road” sign with a bike helmet on top capped off the costume, which was created by designer Melissa Heller.
Asked why she chose a Share the Road concept, Roberts-Huntley told us, “When I became Mrs. Oregon America this past summer, I knew I needed to come up with something original… I had taught my kids about Oregon’s strong history in cycling in our homeschool so it didn’t take me long to come up with the costume idea.” Apparently, the costume spurred quite a stir among spectators and participants. “The costume and story were a big hit,” Roberts-Huntley shared with me yesterday. Judges like it too and awarded her one of the three Top Costume awards.
Roberts-Huntley is a former Nike executive who’s now a marketing professor at University of Oregon. She’s also a career coach, health and fitness advocate, author, and mother of three young children. And it turns out she wasn’t just playing dress-up on that stage. Roberts-Huntley is an enthusiastic family biker.
“I got into biking after having kids — city rides and trail adventures,” she shared. Roberts-Huntley bought a child trailer when her first-born came along and she would pull her around to get a workout. “I loved the challenge of pulling the double trailer behind me up hills.”
Now she and her husband each have a trailer. “We’ve done the Bridge Pedal ride as a family and really enjoyed it. Overall we just love doing local adventures in greater Portland… and I’m always grateful for our bike lanes!”
Watch a video of the costume and follow Roberts-Huntley on Instagram.