University of Wyoming Round Robin

2021 — Online, WY/US

The University of Wyoming will invite some of the most competitive LD and policy teams of the previous season to a set of Round Robin showcase debates December 9th-10th, directly preceding and as a part of the UW Tournament. Our goal is to provide an extremely competitive environment that benefits not only the teams competing but also any Wyoming debater who will be able to observe rounds happening at the highest level of competition.

There are no fees nor judging requirements.


Schedule (MT)

Thursday 12/9

4pm Round 1

6:30pm Round 2


Friday 12/10

7am Round 3

9:30am Round 4 policy /// Rounds 4 & 5 LD (not flighted)

12:30pm Round 5 policy /// LD Showcase Finals


Disclosure Requirement

All teams agreed to provide open-source disclosure of 1ACs/ACs they have read as well as common negative arguments they have already read. On the day of the tournament, we expect the aff to disclose what the aff will be 1 hour before the start of the first round of the day (and immediately after the end of the previous round for the second and third rounds of the day). Pairings will be released in advance to encourage significant preparation, in-depth research, and argument innovation. Of course, disclosure is only required for arguments that a school has already read. We fully expect and encourage teams to break new arguments to catch their opponents off guard.



Judges at the UW Round Robin have included, among others, some of the most successful high school debate coaches in the country, the Director of Debate for Harvard University, the founder of Girls Debate, and successful collegiate Directors of Debate who are alumni of both the Wyoming high school debate community and the University of Wyoming debate team. All of our judges are both supremely qualified and eager to help Wyoming debaters grow more competitive and successful.

We're still hiring judges, but you can see the current list of judges here. A full list of the last year's judges with bios, to get an idea of the kind of folks we hire, can be found here:



All good trophies have a name. The awards for the Round Robin honor both the skill of the contemporary competitors as well as individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Wyoming debate. The winner of the policy division earns the Sandy S. Patrick traveling trophy as well as a silver bowl to keep. The policy Top Speaker earns a silver bowl dedicated to former Natrona County High School coach Frances F. Ferris. The new LD division will feature similar trophies, including a new traveling trophy that will be dedicated at this year's award ceremony. 

The Sandy S. Patrick Traveling Trophy

The traveling trophy in the policy division celebrates someone in Wyoming debate’s history who was a champion of policy debate. Someone with their eyes on national competition, someone who put the focus on national championships and brought Wyoming together to make excelling at a national level possible in a way that no single Wyoming school by itself could do. Sandy Patrick coached Wyoming’s first and only TOC qualifiers, Martin Osborn, Will Jensen, Travis Cram, and Becca Fisher. She coached multiple top ten finishers at NSDA. She established the Rocky Mountain Consortium, through which she coordinated scouting, inter-team assignments, the production of as many specific case neg files as possible, cross-school file sharing, and, if the debaters didn't have a policy coach, on-site coaching at nationals. 

That’s what this award and this tournament represents. The Round Robin is about competing against Wyoming teams, but the reason for that competition isn’t about beating each other, it’s about having the best rounds possible to lift each other up. You prepare intensely and have amazing rounds with well-researched case negs, tricky new strats, and all the best last minute updates. If you see a debate slipping away you fight against the dying of the light to find a way back into the debate. But when the last round ends, no matter who wins, you remember that the competitors you debated aren’t your enemy, they’re your allies. Your debates against them will sharpen your skills so that when you compete at national circuit tournaments and national championships, you’ll be the best versions of yourselves. Policy debate hard, but it’s the hard things that are worth doing. This Round Robin is a reminder of what Sandy Patrick already proved: that when Wyoming bands together, greatness is possible. 

The Frances F. Ferris Top Speaker Award

Frances Ferris is an NSDA Hall of Fame coach (inducted 1985). Frances coached for 41 years at Natrona County High School. She and her teams were legendary. James Copeland compiled the following information about her: 

Vice-presidential wife Lynne Cheney wrote, “It’s hard to overstate what a strong figure Frances Ferris was.” This remarkable woman coached for 41 years at Casper-Natrona County High School (WY) in the Rocky Mountain District, a combination of Wyoming and Colorado. “Teaching during days when progressive educators were arguing that schools should teach cooperation, not competition, she was unhesitating about teaching her students to win,” writes Ms. Cheney.

Her NFL records begin in 1936 with a debate team at Nationals. Ms. Ferris qualified seven students in 1939, the year she coached the largest chapter in the district—a success she repeated against the large Colorado schools four other years. Her squad won the Leading Chapter Award in 1949.

Francis served as district chair in 1940. She was senior coach in the district by 1949. Bruno Jacob appointed her to the Twentieth Anniversary Committee to plan for the NFL’s Silver Anniversary in 1950. Events were limited and travel difficult, but Ms. Ferris earned NFL second diamond #18 in 1956.

At the district tournament, the Casper-Natrona squad won six yearly Sweepstakes Trophies (now Plaques) and one Cumulative Sweepstakes Trophy.

Her qualifiers established a fine record at the National Tournament: two champions in Radio Speaking, a champion in Poetry Reading, and three main event finalists. Her student, Tommy Kidd, was Chairman of the Republican Nominating Convention in 1952, a part of Student Congress. She qualified 56 students to 18 Nationals and won the Tau Kappa Alpha (now the PKD/Bruno E. Jacob) National Sweepstakes Trophy in 1965, her final year.

Casper, the second largest city in Wyoming, was still a small town in the middle of the last century. I-25 had not been built, winter travel was difficult, contests were far away, and bus rides were long. Yet Frances fielded competitors who excelled. We in the 21st century can only marvel at the dedication and perseverance of coaches like Frances Ferris.

Other links:
The Sandy S. Patrick traveling trophy's dedication:

UW alum and Indiana University Director of Debate (and former student of Sandy’s at Cheyenne East) Brian DeLong's address to the inaugural UWRR participants:

Strategic reflections from the inaugural Round Robin: