CLEVELAND - Amy Pajcic couldn't believe she was signing autographs.
"It was weird being this cool," the Brecksville native said. "I was always that loser in high school and now they want my autograph."
Indeed they did, as Pajcic, along with fellow American Ninja Warrior participants -- and Northeast Ohio natives -- PJ Camargo and Michael Nowoslawski attended the official watch party for the show's Cleveland finals episode at Corner Alley on Monday night. Pajcic, Camargo and Nowoslawski were each introduced to the crowd before the show and signed autographs for fans throughout the event, which was sponsored by WKYC, Q104 Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.
With nearly every TV in the bar/bowling alley tuned into the hit NBC show, fans watched as participants from the July Cleveland qualifying episode attempted to advance to the season's finals in Las Vegas. Both Cleveland-based episodes for the show's ninth season were taped at Public Square in May.
Aside from the warriors who publicly advanced to Sin City on Monday, the real winner of the show seemed to be the city of Cleveland, which once again proved its capability in hosting a primetime event.
That was evident not only with the sizable crowd the May tapings drew, but the enthusiasm present at Corner Alley, as fans intently watched as just two participants managed to complete the treacherous course.
"It was really a big turnout compared to years before," said Pajcic, who has now competed in four American Ninja Warrior seasons. "Cleveland had a huge showing."
Should American Ninja Warrior opt to return to Cleveland in future seasons, it wouldn't be surprising to see larger crowds follow. After all, the show -- both in fans and participants -- only appears to be growing in popularity.
"It's really different. It's more of 'everybody against the course' than 'me vs. you,'" Pajcic said. "It's really got a community aspect behind it."
At Corner Alley, that was easy to see.
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