Adding a piquant vibe to a debate tournament seems only
natural in Louisiana. Louisiana
Tech plays host to the Hot ’N’ Spicy Tournament for the International Public
Debate Association Oct. 27–28.
Kris Lucas, debate team president and a senior speech
major, said the tournament is usually held in February.
He said this year it is being held in October because the
team decided to switch its tournament dates with the University of
Louisiana-Monroe so that Tech’s team could compete in the persuasive speaking
competition in the spring.
“We are hoping that we qualify another competitor to
compete for the national persuasive oratory competition like last year and if
we do, then that person would have another opportunity to compete in the
National Persuasive Competition in the spring,” Lucas said.
He said debate topics have not been written yet.
“Usually we have one or two members on the team create
topics that include everything from extensive foreign policy, Social Security,
Medicare Reform, the 2008 election, and national debt to random sports topics
and famous metaphorical quotations,” Lucas said.
Courtney McGuffee, tournament
organizer and a junior speech major, said debate teams from Louisiana,
Mississippi, Texas and Arkansas will compete, but anyone who wants to help out
with judging is more than welcome.
“Judging is a lot of fun and a good experience,” McGuffee said. “That is how I first became interested in
the debate team.”
McGuffee said this is the first
time she has organized the event and so far it has been a good experience.
“I make sure that everything is in place before Oct. 27,
which is the first day of the tournament,” McGuffee
“I basically just try to iron out all the details so that
everything runs smoothly.”
McGuffee said among her duties
as organizer she is in charge of keeping in touch with McIlhenny
Company, the tournament’s sponsor.
“Usually the debaters that are recognized at tournaments
receive a certificate, a plaque or a trophy,” McGuffee
said. “The trophies for our tournament are very unique because we give the
winners large Tabasco bottles with the personalized label.”
Trey Gibson, director of debate and an instructor of speech, said McIlhenny’s
contribution to the tournament has been invaluable.
“The people at the McIlhenny
Company have been very reliable,” Gibson said.
“They have never asked anything from us.”
The hot sauce bottles McIlhenny
Company donated came with personalized labels on them that read “Louisiana Tech
Hot ‘N’ Spicy Debates”.
“I think it is a great prize to give because it is
different from all of the other tournaments’ prizes,” McGuffee
McGuffee said McIlhenny Company not only donated the personalized hot
sauce bottles, but it also provided some gift baskets for bigger prizes.
Lucas said that as host of the Hot ’N’ Spicy Tournament,
Tech’s team does not compete unless there is a need for competitors to complete
“This year I know that Gibson is allowing students from
his Speech 300 Discussion and Debate class to compete,” Lucas said.
Lucas said a lot of work and energy is spent on making
sure the tournament runs properly so competing could be disadvantageous.
“Being a good host requires a lot of work,” Lucas said.
“Debating can be affected by physical fatigue created by
all the work.”
Gibson feels there is another downside to not being able
“I only regret one thing,” Gibson said. “We’ve won so
many prizes, but we have never won a hot sauce bottle.”