This weekend, Toledo is home to its own epic competition waged by highly trained and determined competitors.
It's the Olympics of ribs - the 21st annual Northwest Ohio Rib-Off.
"We're down here to win," said Tony Schiavone, owner of Flamin' Pit BBQ. Last year, his ribs lost the People's Choice Award by a mere 15 votes.
Tommie Patterson, cook for Sidelines Sports Eatery & Pub, of Lambertville, doesn't even want to contemplate losing the title, which the restaurant won last year.
"Don't ask me that," he said. "I don't like losing."
Despite the intensity behind the grills, most people at the rib-off yesterday enjoyed a light-hearted atmosphere with family, friends and co-workers.
"I like barbecue," said Joe Glass. "I'm from Tennessee, and we know how to do barbecue down there. I came to see what they know."
Monclova Township Trustee Barbara Lang, wearing a "Viva Bush" sticker, was eating and campaigning.
"We would have come [just] as Lucas County residents to support the rib-off," she said of the area Bush supporters who will be in the park all weekend. "But we're killing two birds with one stone."
The rib-off continues through tomorrow in downtown Toledo's Promenade Park. The event benefits United Health Services, which assists local nonprofit organizations that serve people with disabilities.
Anthony Duncan, Toledo police officer and creator of Duncan Code 3 barbecue sauce, appreciates the chance to showcase his new product.
His partner, Greg Huntermark, of Lee Williams House of Meats, isn't impressed by the other companies and their trophy displays.
"They've got nothing," he said. "We are born to grill."
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