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First-Timers Rule at the Show of Champions

A trio of first-time winners got the big thumbs-up at the Europa Show of Champions, which took place in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday, April 17. Pro fitness, figure and bikini were the women’s sports contested. Camala Rodriguez, Erin Stern and Nathalia Melo, respectively, were the champs. Nathalia who? I hear you query. We’ll get to that in a minute.

Let’s start with fitness, where Rodriguez, arguably the hottest rookie to come along in years, took her upward trajectory to its obvious conclusion. She took both rounds to score the biggest win of the evening—at least in terms of points—coming in 20 points ahead of runner-up Myriam Capes, with Regiane DaSilva nabbing the third Olympia-qualifying spot.

A dozen professional practicers of the art of kicks, splits and strength holds heeded the call of promoters Ed and Betty Pariso. From the physique callouts, you might have thought  that Kristina Rojas, seventh at the New York Pro a couple of weeks ago, and Erin Riley, returning to the stage after a year out due to shoulder problems, were in line for top-three finishes. This show was clearly won in the routines, however, and there were more deserving performances than there were rewards. Rodriguez, Capes and DaSilva took the top honors, finishing a very close first, second and third before earning those spots in the final placings. Rojas and Riley had to settle for fourth and fifth, with the ever improving Allison Ethier taking fourth in the routines to land in sixth overall.

Also the obvious conclusion of an upward trajectory was Stern’s victory in the Show of Champions Figure battle. Second to Nicole Wilkins-Lee at the Figure International, Erin was the favorite going into this show, not to mention a hometown favorite from nearby Ocala, and she didn’t disappoint. Bringing perhaps her best conditioning ever, she took charge of the 19-woman lineup from the first quarter-turn and nailed a perfect score.

Nailing a perfect score for second was someone who was not a precontest favorite. Marcy Porter, who got early kudos as a class winner at our NPC IRON MAN Figure in 2004 and turned pro at the Nationals that same year, has not had the success on the next level that some might have predicted. Off the stage since the ’07 Kentucky Pro Muscle, where she got stuck in the tied-for-16th pool, she came back with a vengeance. Sporting a new look—leaner, more sculpted and brunet—Porter strode right by someone who was a favorite going into the contest, Cheryl Brown, relegating her to third.

Latisha Wilder, looking the best she has in a while—and tiny!—took fourth, and Candice Keene rounded out the top five.

Now for the bikini story, and it is a story. Newcomer Nathalie Melo won her pro debut—only her second contest ever—with a perfect score. The Brazilian bombshell, the latest in a distinguished line of Brazilian bombshells now living in the U.S. that includes figure pros Larissa Reis and Julianna Malacarne, turned up at the NPC Fort Lauderdale Cup last October and blew everyone away. That includes everyone who counts (not always the case), as Nathalia was allowed to apply for her pro card, and you can see what came of it.

I wasn’t present in Orlando, but after viewing the contest photos and a sweet postvictory interview with Dave Palumbo at, I’m Nathalia fan. She has a very different physique style from Sonia Gonzalez, who won the first two pro-bikini shows—leaner and not quite as curvy—but she has the requisite sass for sure.

Jaime Baird (my prediction for first) was the panel’s unanimous choice for second in the 14-woman lineup, with Missy Coles earning a perfect third-place score. Both were making their pro debuts as well and, along with Nathalia, earned invites to the Bikini Olympia, to be held during the Big O weekend in September.

Photos (from top):

Camala Rodriguez.

Myriam Capes.

Erin Stern.

Nathalia Melo (courtesy of

Find the complete results from all three Europa Show of Champions events below:

’10 Show of Champions Fitness
1) Camala Rodriguez*
2) Myriam Capes*
3) Regiane Da Silva*
4) Erin Riley
5) Kristina Rojas
6) Allison Either
7) Sylvia Tremblay
8) Nicole Duncan
9) Melissa Fredrick
10) Kayde Puckett
11) Sandi Stuart
12) Victoria Larvie
Qualifies for the ’10 Fitness Olympia.

’10 Show of Champions Figure
1) Erin Stern*
2) Marcy Porter*
3) Cheryl Brown*
4) Latisha Wilder
5) Candice Keene
6) Marie Ann Newman
7) Petra Metrl
8) Ann Titone
9) Candice John
10) Danielle Kifer
11) Elvimar Sanchez
12) Jessica Wright
13) Linda Fodor
14) Tessa Wood-Thomas
15) Listy Allen
16) Taylor Waldrop
17) Tammy Strome
17)  Ginette Delhaes
17) Nina DiTommaso Morgan
Qualifies for the ’10 Figure Olympia.

’10 Show of Champions Bikini
1) Nathalia Melo*
2) Jaime Baird*
3) Missy Coles*
4) Kira Rivera
5) Janet Harding
6) Khanh Nguyen
7) Marzia Prince
8) Jessica Lawrence
9) Shay Monroe
10) Shelsea Montes
11) Sheryln Roy
12) Kat Holmes
13) Safiya Johnson
14) Julie Costa
*Qualifies for the ’10 Bikini Olympia.

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