Bulldog Bluster enhances Homecoming week events
CRAIG — After the big homecoming game and before the glittering homecoming dance, Moffat County will host a new homecoming event — the Bulldog Bluster Novice Speech and Debate Tournament.
The Moffat County High School Speech and Debate team will hold a novice tournament for the “first year in a long time,” said MCHS Speech and Debate Coach Stephanie Everett.
Teams from Eagle Valley, Aspen, Battle Mountain, Hayden and Steamboat Springs will bring about 75 first-time competitors and student judges.
About 10 competitors are from Everett’s public speaking class, and one — Constantine Daniels – is a new member of the MCHS Speech and Debate Team. Three varsity team members — Caitlin Bagley, Jacob Briggs and Gage Rowley — have been helping the novices prepare and will judge at the tournament.
“It’s my first time judging, and I think it will be cool to see the performance of people just starting and to be able to give them tips to improve. I was terrified the first time I did it, so I’ll be a bit sympathetic,” Bagley said.
Novice tournaments give new competitors a chance to compete against other new competitors, while experienced speakers get a taste for judging. Another big goal is to recruit new MCHS team members from the 10 students in public speaking.
“Maybe some of the younger classman will see that it’s something they want to do and carry on the torch after we are gone,” Briggs, a senior, said.
With many Americans more terrified of public speaking than death, the team knows persuading new members to join is a hard sell, but they provided plenty of reasons for other students to join, such as enhancing college resumes and having fun while learning an important life skill.
“Making speeches and debating is pretty much inevitable,” Daniels said. “Why cower about it, when you can jump into the abyss and never look back?”
The tournament is being run on a shoestring budget; students and parents will contribute food, and old trophies will be repurposed.
“I’m trying to be as frugal as I can so that we have money to apply towards other tournaments and nationals,” Everett said.
Unlike most of the other homecoming competitions, “speech and debate are not exactly spectator sports,” Everett said.
Nevertheless, there are opportunities to see the team in action. To see a round of competition, it’s important to check in with tournament organizers and ask permission from the competitors.
“I’ve never had another team turn down a spectator,” Rowley said.
Another way to see the team in action is to attend the Board of Education Candidates Forum at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12 in the Craig Middle School Auditorium, 915 Yampa Ave.
“We might have a small team, but we are going to do really great this year,” Briggs said.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.