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The Hurrle Bird Catches Another Worm

Finally saw my first pro women’s physique shows last night at Jon Lindsay’s IFBB Pro Grand Prix, where Sara Hurrle picked up her second win in three tries. It was the fourth contest ever on the fledgling pro women’s physique circuit and the toughest—and longest—lineup so far, with 16 aesthetically muscular (but not too muscular) women posing down at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Culver City, California. Also onstage were Karina Nascimento, a one-time promising bodybuilder who showed up at the first pro women’s physique event, the Dessert Classic in Phoenix, and upset a few apple carts; Patricia Mello, a statuesque Brazilian-born bombshell who competed in the ’09 Figure Olympia; and Sabrina Taylor, a refugee from fitness and figure giving the new sport a try.

Hurrle has only been improving since she first hurled her bod into the women’s physique fray at the St. Louis Pro in March. The challenge that she had to withstand here was not from Nascimento, as expected, but from Mello and and Gibson, both of whom came on strong in both the body and the posing aspects. That’s one thing I’m loving about the fledgling physique circuit: Every contest brings new surprises into the mix.

The judges gave it to Hurrle, with Mello only two points behind in second and Taylor getting her best pro landing to date in any sport with a third-place finish. Nascimento had to settle for fourth, with fitness veteran Stacy Simons-McDowell bringing her superflexible body out of retirement to earn the fifth-place bouquet, which was a particularly pleasant surprise. Though the physique round had never been Stacy’s strongest suit, her revamped, more streamlined and balanced package really got the panel’s attention.

Also making an impression: Another athlete famous for fitness, Carrie Simmons, who ended up in seventh behind a very balanced Joele Smith. The evening’s honors included a $500 award for Best Poser, in addition to the $3,000 purse for the top three. With a lot of talent to choose from—it’s good to see women posing again—the panel picked Taylor, giving her an even greater reason to leave the auditorium with a smile.

It was also my first pro men’s physique show and really my first chance to study up on the new men’s-competition sensation. The panel’s selection of Las Vegas resident Mark Anthony Wingson in the 10-man lineup seemed right—a fine physique and he handled himself nicely onstage. In other words: just the right amount of sass. Who says men’s physique doesn’t have a lot in common with bikini?

Find the complete results below.

Top photo, women’s physique top five (from left): Karina Nascimento, Patricia Mello, Sara Hurrle, Sabrina Gibson and Stacy Simmons-McDowell.

Above right: Mark Anthony Wingson.

IFBB Grand Prix Pro Women’s Physique
1) Sara Hurrle
2) Patricia Mello
3) Sabrina Gibson
4) Karina Nascimento
5) Stacy Simons-McDowell
6) Joele Smith
7) Carrie Simmons
8) Cea Ann Kerr
9) Trish Wood
10) Venus Nguyen
11) Marina Lopez
12) Kris Murrell
13) Donna Jones
14) Tonia Moore
15) Mascha Tieken
16) Irina Veselova

IFBB Grand Pris Pro Men’s Physique
1) Mark Anthony Wingson
2) Collin Humphrey
3) Miguel Agular
4) Burton Hughes
5.) Alex Carneiro
6) Bobby Ashhurst
7) Angel Cordero
8) Matt Christianer
9) Ryan Hughes
10) Tyler Larson

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