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Miss Nevada USA organization under fire

The Miss Nevada USA organization is under fire again, days after celebrating its first Miss USA title win.

Nia Sanchez, who won Miss Nevada USA in January as Miss South Las Vegas, on June 8 became the first Nevada representive to win the Miss USA pageant in Baton Rouge, La.

Today she’s under scrutiny over whether she fulfilled the six-month residency requirement. Sanchez is dismissing a FoxNews.com report that she might have faked her residency to compete after years on the California pageant circuit.

The Review-Journal searched various public record databases and only found two addresses for Sanchez, both in California.

Sanchez, 24, was quoted last week as saying “(Las Vegas) is my home. I have a house there with a friend.’’

I received a screen grab via email Saturday of a tweet sent Jan. 12, the night Sanchez won the Nevada title. Sent by former Miss Arizona USA Alicia-Monique Blanco, it read: “OMG My roomie just won Miss Nevada USA!!! Miss USA here we come!”

Blanco was living in the Los Angeles area at the time.

There’s no denying the growing evidence that Nevada has become a magnet for pageant hoppers who see an easier path than facing larger talent pools in more populated states.

To some Nevadans, that’s the definition of carpetbaggers, even though it’s legal in many state pageants as long as residency requirements are met.

The day after the 2014 pageant at Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall at UNLV, I received an email from a disgruntled Las Vegas pageant follower. She wrote: “California license plates out-numbered Nevada’s in the parking lot. The ‘hoppers’ have taken over.”

An investigation by the Review-Journal discovered that nearly half of the 33 contestants in the 2014 pageant field came from out-of-state pageants.

The number of out-of-state challengers has spiked in recent years since the Miss Nevada USA organization hired former Miss USA Shanna Moakler as director. She resigned as executive director of the Miss California USA pageant in 2009.

Moakler thumbed her nose at critics Wednesday in an Instagram post.

“To all the bitch ass hoes that hate me the most, oh yeah, I hate you too ...” wrote Moakler, who rightfully can point to her record of getting results.

Miss Nevada 2012 Jade Kelsall was the third runner-up in Miss USA that year, Nevada’s highest finish in 11 years.

Kelsall, however, soon joined a long list of Miss USA contestants who made headlines with unladylike behavior. In late 2012, she posted a photo of herself on Facebook making a hand signal that simulated a sex act with women while she was posing with porn star Ron Jeremy.

Six years earlier, Miss Nevada USA Katie Rees was dethroned for raunchy photos taken several years earlier at a Florida nightclub.

Nevada competition guidelines call for contestants to provide two documents dated six months before the state pageant and be issued in the contestant’s name. That covers voter ID or registration card, tax return, employment records, bank statements or lease and deed.

BIRTHDAY WISH

Tiger Woods’ ex-coach Butch Harmon has a new star pupil. He’s just 13 and he already has played at Augusta National Golf Club.

Rene-Charles Angelil’s mother had to pull some strings to get him one of golf’s hard-to-get invites.

But then Angelil’s mother is superstar Celine Dion, and who wouldn’t want to do her a big favor?

She had to deliver because she had asked him what he wanted for his birthday.

“I never expected him to tell me (that),” she said in an interview last week.

Her son responded, “Are you asking me what I want?

“Yes.”

“He said, ‘I want to go to Augusta.’ I said, ‘I should never have asked.’ ”

Dion contacted friends who helped her and her husband, Rene Angelil, get an invitation 15 years ago.

She fessed up and said he was 13, “and they said, ‘OK, he’s 13, but, uh, ‘Is he playing a little bit?’ ”

He’s playing “really, really well. He’s very athletic,” she said.

He got to play two rounds, she said, with his proud parents joining him.

“I don’t remember his best score,” she said, “but I think it was in the 70s. Seventy-seven, or something like that. I was so proud, so-o-o proud.”

She added, “He’s taking lessons. He’s serious about it.”

Harmon, who coached Woods from 1993 to 2004, has been voted the top golf teacher in the United States for more than a decade by his peers in a poll organized by Golf Digest.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn celebrated Fischbacher’s 75th birthday Friday in Jerusalem while vacationing in Israel. ...

Rita Rudner’s daughter, Molly, 11, will sing during a special guest appearance at the June 29 “Conversations with Norm” featuring Rudner at Jazz Cabaret at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. The fundraiser for the Smith Center’s education fund starts at 2 p.m. Tickets: 702-749-2000.

THE PUNCH LINE

“The U.S. is scheduled to play Germany soon at the World Cup. President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel already have a bet going. The loser keeps Hasselhoff.” — Craig Ferguson

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.