Local champion water skiers Regina Jaquess and Adam Pickos have much to celebrate this holiday season, namely bringing home gold from France.
Jaquess and Pickos were two of the skiers making up Team USA at the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation's World Water Ski Championships held just outside Paris in September where the team competed against the best skiers in the world.
Jaquess brought home two gold medals and one silver, and the team won gold. Her golds were in slalom and overall, and she was second in jumps.
Pickos brought home the gold in world tricks for the second time.
This is the 10th time Jaquess has won World at the open level, which she believes ranks as possibly a record.
"It's amazing," she said of her wins. "There's a lot of work put into it. It's been a long journey, but you don't realize when you are in it. It's amazing to be on the US Team with Adam. It's an honor."
Jaquess moved to Santa Rosa Beach at age 12 to train at the Pickos Ski School, leaving her family behind in Atlanta. She went to school here, graduating from Freeport High School, left for college, then returned as a pharmacist. She owns Emerald Coast Compounding Pharmacy and receives a lot of help there from her family to allow her to devote much time to skiing.
"It's a balancing act," she said.
Jaquess has been skiing since age 2, and was 15 when she won her first world title.
"My family always skied. It was part of our life -- a way of life, where we went to lake on weekends," she said.
Jaquess is now 33, and although her trophy case is full, she said she has no thoughts of retiring.
"I don't think so. We've collected a lot of hardware, but as long as you stay active you can ski into your 40s, as long as you have that fire in you," she said.
Pickos also began skiing at an early age. He was 3 years old when his parents put him on skis. He entered his first tournament at age 6, and won at age 9.
"My parents have this unique facility. Skiers that train at my parents' ski school have had major success at competitions," said Pickos.
Pickos said the ski school is his priority, but you also might see him waiting tables at the Red Bar. A pro shop is also in the works for Pickos in the near future to be opened at the facility.