We Came to Score: The Top 25 Competitors of 2004

In an unprecedented year and a half long competition cycle marked by fierce rivalry, veteran competitors, international competitors, and newcomers alike vied for positions on NAILS 2003-2004 coveted Top 25 List. 

Tom Bachik
<p>Tom Bachik</p>

After 10 years of ranking the top competitors, we felt a little change was in order. In an effort to bring even greater visibility to the NAILS Top 25 competitors themselves and add an air of suspense to the competition, we extended the 2003 competition cycle to end with the 2004 Nailympics (formerly known as the Nail Olympics) in May. Always drawing a large crowd, we felt it an appropriately grand event to debut the final list of winner and honor or them in a more public arena. To that end we also created special sterling silver pins to award competitors for every year their names have appeared on the list.

In the future, the Top 25 Competitors Ranking will run from the first show following the Nailympics, ending at the Nailypics of the following year. 


Mainly absent from the competition circuit since placing #2 on the Top 25 list in 2000, industry daring Tom Bachick of Murietta, calif., staged a triumphant return this year to capture the top spot. No stranger to competing. Back made his first of five appearances on the Top 25 List in 1994, and was ranked #1 in 1995 Competing in the U.S. and Canada, his legendary nails stood up to intense scrutiny-both from behind the judging curtain and across the table. During this year’s gel competition, his model Alisha Rimando (an award-winning competitor herself) laid down the law. As a protégé and competition model of the other famous Tom-Tom Holcomb-she expected a lot, and she got it. Under Rimando’s watchful eye Bachik won the gel competition. “She said ‘I only model for winners, so you better do well,” reports Bachick, who is not to disappoint.   

Lorena Marquez
<p>Lorena Marquez</p>


Tenacious competitor Lorena Marquez, owner of At Your Finger tips in Watsonville, Calif., and second runner-up for Nail Tech of the Year, had the competition on the run for most of the season. Steadily placing high each month, it seemed nearly certain that this year-her seventh on the list- she’d reach her goal of being #1. And in the end it was a true photo finish. Midway through the Nailympics 2004 presentation Marquez jumped ahead of good friend Tom Bachick to first place. Sitting together, figuring their scores on the palms of their hands, Marquez and Bachick were the picture of friendly competition. A nail-biter until the last possible moment, when all the scores were tallied, only seven measly points separated first and second place. And, really what’s seven points between friends?

John Hauk
<p>John Hauk</p>


After he earned the #1 spot in the 2002 Top 25 List it was no surprise to see John Hauk, owner of Belle A’Rever in Centerville, Ohio, and honorable mention nominee for Nail Tech of the Year 2004 back on the list. A seven-year veteran competitor, John enjoys competing in tip and wrap events.

Amy Becker
<p>Amy Becker</p>


The only competitor to have placed on the NAILS Top 25 List every single year since 1994,  Amy Becker, owner of Masterworks in Mequon, Wis., is an industry stand-out in more ways than one. Last year’s Nail Tech of the Year, Becker is an educator, and competes in acrylic, gel, wrap, and nail art categories. This year her fantasy nails at the Nailympics beat out stiff competition to earn the top score in her division.

Rita Horvath
<p>Rita Horvath</p>


A competitor for seven years and a member of the Top 25 List for six years running, Rita Horvath of Boca Raton, Fla., is an old hand when it comes to competing. Not present at as many competitions as some other top competitors, Horvath makes her mark by targeting Super Points competitions and, of course, winning.

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