Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest
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Deadline:  December 31 to local Chapter

A.  Introduction:

  1. Contest open to 9th through 12th graders.
  2. A contestant can choose their own subject centered on pre, during, or post Revolutionary War subject material.
  3. Speech must be at least 5 minutes but not longer than 6 minutes.

The information outlined below is intended to assist our Texas SAR members, chapter presidents, regional oration chairpersons, and youth committee members on how to proceed and conduct an Oration Contest during any of the “4 basic phases.”  All necessary Registration Forms and Guidelines for Local, State, and National competition are contained within this website (Section B).  Additional information about this particular Youth Contest can also be acquired by going to the National SAR Website.


B.  The Basic Phases of the Oration Contest:

  1. Chapter Level - First phase, is the contest at the (local) Chapter level.  A winner is selected by the judging criteria as set forth by the SAR National requirements on their web site.  This contest is conducted any time between December 1 to January 15.  It is suggested this contest be conducted on a Sunday afternoon at a library, church, or other location which is available to you.  The Chapter Oration committee chairman should try to coordinate a date and time with a local school (public, private, religious, or home school representative) which best works for you and for THEM.

  2. Regional Level - Second phase is the Regional Contest arranged by each Regional Chairman representing all the Chapters’ winners in his section (refer to Regional List below).  He sets up this contest location and arrangements for judges to be conducted between December 1 and February 15.  The judging rules are the same as those listed on the NSSAR web site ( under the Youth Education/Oration Contest tab.  The Oration Chair (Larry Luby at can work with the appropriate chapters (and their representative contestants) in his section to establish a form of reward and reimbursement of expenses for travel if necessary.

    1. All necessary contestant forms are contained in the Contestant Packet - including the Permission/Release Form.
    2. All necessary chapter forms are contained in the Chapter Packet.

    Helpful Suggestions in locating viable Contestants:

    1. Contact the local school Speech Teachers directly as well as other community and educational sources.
    2. There are many activities surrounding the students:  UIL, State, and civic functions that you need to stay clear of when scheduling the contest date.  Even though you might want to do the competition the night of your normal meeting, it might not be workable for the student.
    3. Some schools, libraries, churches, or civic facilities will provide a conference room.
    4. Your local DAR or newspaper may have contacts that will aid you in acquiring contestants.

    Region 1 Region 2 Region 3 Region 4 Region 5 Region 6
    Ben Pollard
    Will Moravits
    John Anderson
    Jason Gray
    Robert S. Cohen
    David L. Peavy
    Towns/ Chapters Towns/ Chapters Towns/ Chapters Towns/ Chapters Towns/ Chapters Towns/ Chapters

    Big Country


    El Paso/
    Col. Turner R. Sharp


    Texas Tech

    Permian Basin

    San Angelo
    Daniel Wood



    Corpus Christi/
    Corpus Christi


    George West/
    Live Oak

    Hill Country


    New Braunfels/
    Wm. Hightower

    San Antonio/
    San Antonio



    Fort Worth/
    MAJ. K. M. Van Zandt

    Brazos Valley


    Edmund Terrill




    Amb. Fletcher Warren

    Red River


    East Fork Trinity

    Capt. Wm. Barron

    Patrick Henry

    College Station/

    Alexander Hamilton

    Leon River Valley

    Capt. John McAdams

    East Texas

    Lt. Nathan Gann


    Heart of Texas

    Peter Sides

    Maj. White

    Paul Revere


    Bernardo de Galvez

    Paul Carrington


    Lake Jackson/
    Cradle of Texas

    Robert Rankin

    Alexander Hodge

    Regional Chairman must have their entries certified to the State Chairman by February 15.  Local chapters belonging to a given Region are encouraged to financially support the Regional winning contestant’s travel expenses to the Annual State Conference.

  3. State Level - Third phase is the Texas State Contest held on the Saturday of TXSSAR’s Annual Meeting, where the six Regional Oration winners compete for a top prize of a $3500 Scholarship, Olympic Medallion, and trip to the National Society’s July championship competition.  This school year's State final competition will be on Saturday, April 1, 2023 in The Woodlands, Texas.  Please note, if health conditions dictate the cancellation of the inperson SAR State Convention, the Oration Contest will be conducted via video rather than in-person.  State competition will be consistent for all regional winners – all in-person or all via video.


    Regional Oration Contest winners will be reimbursed for travel to the Texas State Oration Contest according to the Travel & Convention Expense Allowance schedule for travel to the Texas State Oration Contest.  Regional winners are responsible for any/all other costs including additional meals.  If there are any questions about reimbursements, please contact your respective contest Chairman.

    Special note:  The Texas Society, Sons of the American Revolution will award their scholarships after the contests at its Annual Meeting.  Award amounts are currently:  1st Place- $3500; 2nd Place-$750; 3rd Place-$500; 4th Place- $300; 5th & 6th Places- $150 each.

    Students will be given a letter of commitment from the Texas SAR in the appropriate amount.  When the student enrolls in a community or senior college or university, the student presents the letter to the financial aid office.  That office will contact the Texas SAR and the money in the approved amount will be sent directly to that institution as a credit against the student’s tuition account.  The student will not receive a check at the State Conference. 


    These scholarship funds and travel funds are paid from the Texas SAR Col. Joe M. Hill Patriot Fund.

  4. National Level - Fourth phase is the final contest conducted by the National SAR at their Annual Congress, which generally takes place during the first week in July.  The location will vary from year to year.  Note that the preliminary round of the National competition will be via video that will be submitted by May 15.  The six national finalists will be announced on June 1. The six finalists will be invited to the National Congress for the final competition.

    The 133rd Congress will be held in Orlando, Florida in July 2021.


C.  Registration Forms:

All registration and other required forms are contained in the Contestant Packet.


D.  Permission Release:

The required Permission Release form may be obtained in the Contestant’s Packet.


E.  Rules:

Official Rules of the The Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest

The contest will be held in preliminary round(s) by state societies and/or chapters of the Sons of the American Revolution to select one winner from each participating state.  In districts where no state society sponsors an entrant, a district entry is permitted.  Each participating state society or district should provide information regarding the contest to senior high school, parochial, private and home-schooled speech and/or history teachers and principals or counselors as early as possible.

  1. The contest is open to all students of the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes (Grades 9 - 12) in the public, parochial, private, and home schools within the jurisdiction of the sponsoring state society or district.
  2. The oration must be original of not less than five minutes or more than six minutes.  The subject shall deal with an event, personality, or document pertaining to the Revolutionary War and show a relationship to America today.  The oration must be essentially the same as the submitted manuscript.  Notes and props (including military uniforms) may not be used in the presentation.
  3. The state society or district establishes the date and deadlines for its contest allowing adequate time to submit its winner as an entrant in the national competition.  (Four weeks before the start of NSSAR Congress)  Form A & B, which can be found below, (National) must be received by the National Chairman by the deadline.
  4. Before the chapter winner competes in the state contest, a copy of the oration, a photograph and biographical sketch of the entrant, and the completed Form B should be mailed to the state chairman following the chapter contest.  Form A (State) will be sent by the Chapter Chairman to the State Chairman.
  5. At Congress the NSSAR will furnish awards and give recognition to all orators who participate in the national preliminary and final contests.
  6. Expenses involving lodging, meals, and transportation to, at, and from the NSSAR Congress may be borne by the sponsoring state society or district.  Chaperon for the entrant may be provided by the state society or district.
  7. During the presentation of orations at chapter, state-district, or national contest, no applause is permitted until all orators have finished speaking.
  8. During the contest, no private videotaping or flash picture taking will be allowed.
  9. By action of the 1985 Congress, all judges in the Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest must be members of the SAR.  The judges will select the winners by the following criteria:  A. Composition; B. Delivery; C. Significance; D. History.  Time allocated for delivery is between 5 and 6 minutes.  (A penalty is applied for going outside the time allocations.)
  10. The contestants must agree that the interpretation of rules and the decisions of the NSSAR and its judges shall govern without reservation.  The judging sheets and notes are the property of the SAR.
  11. The first place winner at the national level of the Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest may not compete in its future competitions.
  12. The first place National winner is expected to attend the youth awards luncheon the day after the final competition.


F.  Judging Sheet and Instructions

The Judging Sheet and Instructions are included in the Chapter Packet.


G.  Statement of Commitment

The required Statement of Commitment form is contained in the Contestant Packet.


H.  Texas SAR Oration Contact Chairperson:

Larry Luby