Tall Tales Contest

I was late submitting this article because the icemaker in my freezer was on the blink. It just wouldn’t stop pouring out ice. Pretty soon the house was so cold that our parakeet froze solid in flight. And when I tried to boil water on the stove, the bubbles froze in the pot. A plausible excuse for a late submission? Hardly. But it does have the makings of a good tall tale. With the Toastmasters Tall Tale Contest just around the corner and plenty of other contests and storytelling opportunities nationwide, this is a good time to brush up on this quintessentially American art form. According to Carolyn S. Brown in The Tall Tale in American Folklore and Literature, a tall tale is “a fictional story which is told in the form of personal narrative or anecdotes, which challenges the listener’s credulity with comic outlandishness, and which performs different social functions depending on whether it is heard as true or as fictional.” In other words, because the tall tale is presented as a spontaneous reminiscence that happened either to the narrator or to an acquaintance – with true-life, ordinary details that build up almost imperceptibly to something outrageous – even listeners who hear it as fiction often play along and act as though they believe it to be true. Perhaps it’s that semblance of truth that has made the tall tale, or whopper, so successful throughout American history. From the country’s inception, Americans have crowed about how the U.S. and its inhabitants, whether an anonymous farmer or the legendary Pecos Bill, were larger, stronger, and wilder than life. Both ordinary pioneers and celebrities from 19th-century author Mark Twain to current-day radio personality Garrison Keillor have celebrated the nation’s grandness – and the urge to tame it – with this inimitable type of story. Not everything was rosy in the history of tall tales. For one thing, they tended to give short shrift to minorities, women and animals. And they were not what you’d call eco-friendly. But the 18th and 19th centuries were different times, and today, most examples of the genre are as inclusive and respectful as they are fun. Tall tales are regularly shared throughout the United States at what are known as liars’ contests. Some of the most well-known of these are in West Virginia, Nebraska, Florida, Indiana, California – and of course Texas, which, like a certain well-known burger chain, could be called the Home of the Whopper. “The secret to a good tall tale is exaggeration.” You can read more about the contests on the Toastmasters International website: Toastmasters International

Speaker Certification Eligibility Originality

Contestant Bio

Speech Contest Certificate 1st Place

Speech Contest Certificate 2nd Place

Speech Contest Certificate 3rdPlace

Judge Certification of Eligiblity Ethics

Speech Contest Rulebook 2017

Time Record Sheet

Counters Tally Sheet

Tall Tales Speech Contest Tie Breaking Ballot

Tall Tales Speech Contest Ballot

Notification of Winner

Speech Contest Certificate Participant

1168 Results Form 2017
Video Release Form Table Topics Rules
Photo Release Form

Grace Rachow and the TableTopics Contest

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