I spoke too soon last month when I noted that physique pro Sabrina Taylor might be the only athlete to win three straight shows this season. No sooner had I put that column to bed than Camala Rodriguez pulled off back-to-back-to-back wins at the Pittsburgh, New York and California pro figure shows on May 3, 17 and 24, respectively. When she told me in Pittsburgh her plan for a cross-country sweep, I did a double-take. It wasn’t just that in New York she’d be facing Heather Dees, who’d beaten her several times, notably at the’14 Figure International, where Dees was second and Camala third. In years past the Cal and the New York show were held on the same day, which would make that quite a feat. After a moment I snapped back to reality and snapped the accompanying photo of a confident Camala.
The rule of the pecking order didn’t hold in the Big Apple, as Heather had mistimed her peak. She dropped to 14th out of 30, while Camala, who tightened up at each successive show, took the title. Two weeks later Camala rolled into Los Angeles, where she was the defending champ, to dash the hopes of a West Coast lineup of 28. With her victory at the post-Olympia Houston Pro, that made a total of four for the season for the trainer and nutritional counselor from Colorado, who says she’s done till the O and will be focusing on her physical therapy studies at Denver’s Metropolitan State University.
Folks are calling Camala’s trip figure wins in one month “historic,” but that’s kind of an overused word, don’t you think? Let’s just say a deserving athlete pulled off a nice trick.
South American Sizzle
On the May weekend when Camala didn’t compete, most of the action was in Dallas, where Juliana Malacarne made her season debut and tuned up for New York at the Europa Super Show Women’s Physique. The WPD’s number-one Brazilian bombshell had brought it down from what she displayed at the ’13 Olympia, where she finished a disappointing seventh, and scored a clean victory over runner-up Sabrina and a lineup of 25. The following week she earned her third-straight New York Pro title. Here’s hoping that Malacarne and her enviable genetic package do better at this year’s season finale.
The extremely hot competition between Olympia and International winner Ashley Kaltwasser and her runner-up, Yeshaira Robles, got even hotter as Yeshaira pulled off a trick of her own—successfully defending her 2013 titles at the Pittsburgh and New York shows. At the latter she beat Ashley—by a single point. Then, at the Toronto Super Show on May 31, Ashley picked up her fourth win of the season—after taking three in March—thus matching Camala’s feat. Now, that’s historic. Maybe.
Scene at the Pittsburgh
So good to see Tad “the Diet Doc” Inoue, who recently moved from Southern California to the ’Burgh. Tad competed in the NPC Pittsburgh along with some of his clients, including first-timer Vince Brasco. “I convinced him to train me,” said the 21-year old student at ITT, who plunged into the open bantamweight class after working with Tad for three months. As the accompanying photo shows, Vince may not be tall, but he’s got a big pair—of delts and pecs.
Radio girls. It wasn’t the first time that Jami Debernard and Jessica James have covered the Pittsburgh, interviewing athletes and posting on the action for “Fem Fit All,” a radio show for competitors that they cohost at FitBodyRadio.com. News, tips, tricks and insider information are on the bill of fare, with “How to Pick a Coach,” “Metabolic Killers” and “What the Judges Are Looking For” among the recent episodes presented by the personable and proportionate pair, whose résumés list trainer, contest coach and IFBB pro, among other items. With so many fitness shows on the Web, what makes this one different?
“We have a ‘real talk’ attitude and don’t sugarcoat,” said James, who noted that they provide the details that many coaches don’t have time for.
I’ll buy that, ladies. It sounds like one that’s definitely worth a listen.
Did someone say Texas? In case you were wondering who won the big figure show that Camala Rodriguez did not enter in May, it was Ann Titone, who had to drop out of the Pittsburgh because she’d been sick. Feeling better, she jumped into the Dallas show against the advice of her nearest and dearest. It proved a wise decision, as the indomitable Annie pulled off a win and nailed her Olympia qualification for the season. Two weeks later she went to the Toronto Pro as the defending champ and lost a close one to Gennifer Strobo.
Moment of aw-w-w-w. Speaking of Dexter Jackson, don’t you just love this shot of the Blade making the acquaintance of three-month-old Rasmia Barakat, daughter of the NPC’s Rico Barakat? “You look like you’ve done this before,” quipped a roving reporter. Replied Dex, “I’m a grandfather now.” Everyone together now: “Aw-w-w-w....”