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Wishing you Peace And Joy!



December 2019

Happy Holidays Dear Friends And Family,

I know it’s hard to believe, but it seems another Holiday Season is upon us! Hopefully, 2019
was good to you and yours ....


I must say in many ways, 2019 was better than 2018. The health issues that kept us from attending any pageant or figure skating events last year were not an obstacle this year, as my kidneys behaved themselves.

So, we were able to attend not one but two figure skating competitions during the past year, something we have not done since...well....I really can’t remember! I must be getting old!
But I’m sure it’s at least 15 years....

Anyway, in February, the Four Continents Championships were held at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. This competition is held as a counterpart to the European Championships for skaters who represents countries in Asia, Africa, Oceania, and of course, the Americas.
It is not an event I had ever attended before,It was first held in 1999, and only in the United States three times previously all in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

We had not been to a competition since Skate America, part of the Grand Prix of figure skating, in 2011 in Ontario, California. To my surprise this year’s Skate America was held in Las Vegas, Nevada in October so we were able to attend both events. We enjoyed all the skating of course. But the biggest treat was the opportunity to renew friendships with old skating buddies, coaches (most of whom were still competing when we first met...) and commentators; while we also made new friends !

Some of these new acquaintances were made the old fashioned way by complete serendipity.
Others were by arrangement through social media contacts I had for years but never had the opportunity to connect with in person!

One of the accidental meetings was with Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, two time and current United States Ice Dancing Champions and World Medalists. We had been running into each other in elevators and throughout the Orleans Hotel since we arrived but it wasn’t until we almost literally ran into each other at the adjacent arena that we finally had a moment to chat and snap a photo! They are charming and funny. I can’t wait to see where they take their new upbeat programs the rest of the season.

The meeting arranged through social media was with Terry Gannon, NCAA Basketball National Champion turned skating, golf and gymnastics announcer. He’s be covering skating for years, but we never met, so I would jokingly accuse him of being a hologram! He walked halfway around Orleans Arena to prove he is human, a busy human, who travels quite a bit, but a very kind and talkative human nonetheless! We mostly talked golf. Earlier that week, Champion golfer Rory Mcilroy answered a question I submitted to his NBC GOLFPASS Podcast.
Terry knows Rory well and he assured me that Rory is as friendly and open to his fans as he appears on television!

Getting back into the skating world was wonderful but as many of you know, most of my energy the past few years has been invested in pageants, most often the Miss Universe Organization. After missing a year’s worth of events due to circumstances beyond my control, it was really exciting to be able to attend the 2019 Miss USA and Miss Teen USA competitions at Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada.
We do seem to spend a lot of time in Nevada, don’t we? But we had never been to Reno!
It was wonderful! A charming small airport and clean mountain air we the perfect backdrop to exciting events filled with amazing contestants. And just like skating events, reunions and social gatherings are also a major part of the festivities

A highlight for me was watching when Kaleigh Garris of Connecticut was crowned Miss Teen USA 2019. Kaleigh is beautiful inside and out! A amazing representative of the teens of today!
But I must admit i was really focused on watching her state director Carla Crawford, at that moment. She also served as director for Miss USA 2016 Deshauna Barber and Miss USA 2017, Kara McCullough both of whom represented the Distinct of Columbia. Carla is also the mother of Kamie Crawford, Miss Teen USA 2010. They have all become more family than friends....and Carla has the best reactions to victory I’ve ever seen...She nearly falls over from joy...or shock...or a combination of everything! I will miss those moments now that Carla has retired as a director! But I know we will remain close as pageant family always!

An attorney from North Carolina, Cheslie Kryst won the title of Miss USA 2019. Although, we have not yet formally met, Cheslie and I have managed to become friends since then. I am so proud of her advocacy work through “Dress For Success” as well as her work on the TV show, EXTRA !


I look forward to rooting Cheslie on as she competes for the title of Miss Universe in
Atlanta on Sunday December 8 at 7 pm Eastern & Pacific, 6 pm Central Time! I will be watching on Fox television network this time as there were issues with wheelchair accessible transportation in host city. But I wish everyone at MUO and all the contestants the very best! BTW, there will be a simulcast on Telemundo in Spanish!

The Miss Universe Titleholder is currently Catriona Gray of The Philippines! She is without doubt class and elegance personified, yet she is one one of the most approachable and warm people I’ve ever met! A wonderful representative of the Philippines, a country with a proud pageant tradition and devoted fan base. She represented the Miss Universe Organization with grace....tough shoes to fill for her successor. Similarly, Sarah Rose Summers and Hailey Colborn, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA of 2018 respectively, both of whom I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with in Reno as well.

Follow the links below for more!

I am glad to have made in through this year in good health!
We wish health, happiness and good fortune to everyone in 2020!

I am glad to say we already have pageants and skating events on the calendar for the coming year!

Hopefully, it will be a wonderful year for everyone who reads this, and we with all be able to enjoy the third that mean the most!

Love to all.
The Bakers
John, Joann And Shandi

Photos and More!

Miss USA &Miss Teen USA 2019

Four Continents and Skate America 2019

RORY MCILROY ANSWERS MY QUESTION!

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