Oration Contest
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A.  Introduction:

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.

    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.


B.  The Basic Phases of the Oration Contest:

    1. First phase, is the contest 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 May 1 and September 10th.  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.

      All necessary contestant forms are contained in the Contestant Packet (you will also need a Permission/Release form).

      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.

    2. 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 September 11th and September 30th.  The judging rules are the same as those listed on the NSSAR web site (sar.org) under the Youth Education/Oration Contest tab.  The Regional Chair 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.

      Region 1 Region 2 Region 3 Region 4 Region 5 Region 6
      Bill Harper

      Joe Cox

      John Anderson
      vacant Robert S. Cohen
      John Hamlin
      Towns/ Chapters Towns/ Chapters Towns/ Chapters Towns/ Chapters Towns/ Chapters Towns/ Chapters

      Big Country


      El Paso/
      Col. Turner R. Sharp


      Texas Tech

      Permian Basin



      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/

      Leon River Valley

      Capt. John McAdams

      East Texas

      Lt. Nathan Gann


      Heart of Texas

      Alexander Hamilton

      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 October 7.  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. Third phase is the Texas State Contest held on the Saturday of TXSSAR’s Annual Board of Managers meeting where the winners of the six Regions compete for a top prize of a $2500 Scholarship, Olympic Medallion, and trip to the National Society’s July championship competition.  This school year's (2017-18) State final competition will be on October 14, 2017 and held at the Hilton Galveston Island Resort- 5400 Seawall Blvd. Galveston,TX. 

      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 Board of Managers meeting.  Award amounts are currently:  1st Place- $2500; 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.  PLEASE INSURE THAT THE WINNER IN YOUR REGION IS AWARE OF THIS SO THAT THERE WILL BE NO MISUNDERSTANDING.

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

    4. 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.

      The 128th NSSAR Congress for this year’s Oration Contest - final competiton of state winners - is scheduled to be held July 15th, 2018 at The Westin Memorial City, Houston, Texas.


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 here.


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:

Jim Kuykendall
Email:  jimkuy@aol.com
Phone: 281-419-5052