hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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January 24, 2013

Reality TV appearances can inspire local watchers

Haverhill has hit the reality TV map.

It’s good entertainment, but can mean a lot more — even inspiration for local watchers to pursue their dreams.

Erin Erler, owner of the local Cakes by Erin bakery, competed recently in the Food Network’s reality show “Sugar Dome.” The show features teams of cake designers, sugar artists and specialty craftspeople in challenges to create the ultimate sweet showpiece.

Erler won the competition. (See story, page 1.) Congratulations to her. She was featured on another Food Network reality show last year, but did not fare as well. Kudos to her for jumping back into the fray.

Erler owns the bakery on Kenoza Avenue with her sister Kelly Mackin.

Other locals have appeared recently in reality TV competition. Three men from a Bradford-based construction company competed on an episode of the show “Monster Machines’’ that aired this month on the Discovery Channel.

The show pitted them and two other crews of workers against each other, operating heavy construction equipment like backhoes and front-end loaders on an obstacle course and in other challenges.

The local team, called The Boston Boys, did not win, but the Haverhill men said they had a great experience.

Haverhill dancer Channing Cooke appeared a couple of years ago on the reality show “So You Think You Can Dance.’’ The then-18-year-old went deep into the competition, but was eventually eliminated. Younger students at the local dance academy she attends said she inspired them to work harder in hopes they can become celebrities — or at least reach their fullest potential.

In 2005, Haverhill boxer Jeff Fraza appeared in “The Contender,’’ a reality show that pitted boxers against each other in a series of matches. He became an inspiration for young local fighters before dying last year at age 34 when he was hit by a train.

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