CLEVELAND -- It was a contest that competitors entered with great relish on Thursday.
Some of the best professional eaters in the U.S. were at Tower City in Cleveland Thursday, competing for a spot in Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in New York on July 4.
The regional contest was held at Tower City at the bottom of the grand staircase and this was the first time Cleveland hosted a regional qualifier.
One of the "stars" of the show was Pat Bertoletti, who came into the event as second in the world of competitive eating.
Local competitive eater Scott "Beefcake" Bickel planned to take on Bertoletti, even though Bickel is not ranked in the top 50. Bickel wants to go to Coney Island, he said.
Bertoletti won the contest downing 38 hot dogs in 10 minutes. He advances to the July 4 finals. Bickel downed 18 hot dogs.
An amateur hot dog eating contest preceded the regionals.
Check out photos from the contest at Metromix.com
The Nathan's Famous contest circuit holds regional competitions in a dozen cities and each winner advances to the July 4 championship.