On Independence Day the nation's best known eating competition takes place - Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.
But earlier today, D.C. hosted a battle over burgers when a group of competitive eaters squared off at a local Z-Burger.
The suspense built hours beforehand. There were no typical warm-ups. Competitive eaters gathered to gear up for the contest by sitting around.
"I prepare by eating a lot good food like burgers, pizza and stuff like that," says Jerry Reece, a contestant .
The crowd included semi-pro eaters, who travel the country consuming mass quantities of food for prizes.
But there are the first timers, too.
"I'm small but don't let that fool you," says Heather Cahill.
The goal is to eat as many burgers as you can in ten minutes.
With the crowd cheering - and gagging - the eating commenced.
Patrick Bertoletti, an underdog, broke from the pack early. He left the other contestants swallowing hard. He kept up his pace until the very end.
Bertoletti scarfed down 28 burgers. He didn't care about table manners.
After it was over, Bertoletti says, "I think I'm going to get a milkshake for dessert. It might settle my stomach I'm a little full."
The man who came in second felt a different kind of agony than defeat.
"My throat hurts more from jamming food down," says Jamie McDonald the runner up.
Bertoletti walks away with a cash prize and food from Z-Burger. What will he do with his prize money?
"Probably going to get some Pepto-Bismol and some digestive enzymes," Bertoletti says.