I'm looking forward to attending the Tournament of Champions Pro Bikini show tomorrow in Culver City, California. By the time the list was closed, 18 gals had signed up to hit the runway at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. I'm still predicting that Sonia Gonzalez will win and that Dina Al-Sabah will nail a top-three finish in her third pro bikini competition, but as I always say, ya never know. Who will earn the last qualification of the season for any of the women's Olympias? Stay tuned.
In the meantime we'll focus on presenting some the bumper crop of new pros who got their cards at the IFBB North American Championships in Cleveland last weekend. That really big show, promoted by Gary Udit, draws competitors from the United States, Canada and Mexico and can usually be counted on for a surprise or two.
Bikini. Three ladies got their pro cards in the sassy sport. Zara Pineda-Boorder, second at the ’10 Canadian Nationals a few weeks ago, took the A-class by storm as well as the overall and had photographer Reg Bradford raving. Also going pro: Angela Leong, who won the D-class as well as the masters bikini overall, and Samantha Morris, who landed behind Leong in the open.
Photos: Zara Pineda-Boorder and Samantha Morris (above). Angela Leong (at right).
Figure. Open C-class winner Kaylen MacKenzie took the overall, while D-class champ Meredith Berthelson finished second in the overall balloting to earn her card as well. In addition, Tiffany Procopio, a familiar face from 2009 to this reporter, found her best look yet to pick up the open B-class and masters overall titles.
Bodybuilding. Overall winner Monique Jones had plenty of potential and was sporting a softer look, in keeping with a trend I noticed at the USA regarding which bodybuilders are going to the pros these days (discussed in a previous entry). Claire O'Connell, still smarting from her near miss at that show, where she took the lightweights but missed out on a pro card, got her revenge in Cleveland. Class honors in the open division and the masters overall title will mean a trip to the next level at last for the veteran flexer.
Fitness. Sherry Boudreau topped the lineup to dance off with the one pro card up for grabs.
Congratulations to all. Hope to see you onstage next season.
Kaylen MacKenzie and Meredith Berthelson.