GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -

Cheesemakers from around the country have gathered in Green Bay in the hopes that their cheese will be named best in the nation.

The preliminary rounds of the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest began Tuesday in the Lambeau Field atrium. The top cheeses in each category advance to Wednesday night's championship round.

More than 1,700 cheeses were entered in 82 classes, including pepper-flavored, smoked and sheep cheeses.

John Umhoefer is the executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. He says there seems to be an increase in spicy cheeses this year, as though cheesemakers are racing to see who can make the hottest cheese.

The biennial event has been held at Lambeau Field since 2009. Organizers say this year's number of entries is a record.