Mississippi State Cowbell Classic

2022 — Mississippi State, MS/US

The Mississippi State Speech & Debate Council


The Sixth Annual



The John C. Stennis Center for Public Service

Dear Friends:

Greetings from the MSU Speech & Debate Council. It is our great pleasure to announce that the Sixth Annual Cowbell Classic will return to live in-person competition on the beautiful campus of Mississippi State University in January 2022, after a one year sojourn in the virtual world. 

As always, we are proud to partner with the John C. Stennis Center for Public Service, which is once again sponsoring this year’s tournament. The Stennis Center is known nationwide for its support of speech and debate as a means of fostering leadership among students. We are extremely grateful for their support.   

We are equally proud to once again offer bids to the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions (NIETOC). For those of you seeking qualifying legs, come on down (or up) and enjoy our hospitality.

The Events

We will follow the standard MHSAA tournament format. Debate preliminary rounds will be held on Friday afternoon and evening, with elimination rounds on Saturday. All individual event rounds will be held on Saturday.

Competitors may enter up to four total events. Either (1) up to two IE’s in each flight; or (2) one debate event, and up to one IE in Flight A and two in Flight B. This allows us to schedule debate elimination rounds parallel to Flight A.

Debate Events: Congressional Debate, Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum, Policy Debate

Flight A Individual Events: Prose Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Duet Acting, Original Oratory, Program Oral Interpretation, Impromptu Speaking

Flight B Individual Events: Extemporaneous Speaking, Humorous Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, Poetry Interpretation, Declamation, Informative Speaking


We also return to our usual suite of top-notch individual awards, including trophies, plaques, and medals in all events. While we are unable to offer separate novice divisions, we will offer top novice awards for each event.

Sweepstakes will include (1) top three overall team sweeps; (2) top three debate sweeps; and (3) the coveted cowbells for top three individual performers.

Entry Logistics

Registration will close on Monday, January 17th at 6 p.m. Drops or adds by registered schools are permitted without penalty until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 18th. Drop fees will apply after this point.

As usual, we will attempt to recruit a strong pool of judges from the MSU community, but it’s impossible to predict availability, so we strongly prefer that schools provide actual judges rather than pay judge fees, if at all possible.

As always, we would be happy to waive entry fees for schools that are in their first or second year of competition, or their first or second year back after an absence of at least five years.

Judge Quotas: For individual events, we require the following: 1-6 Entries = 1 judge; 7-12 Entries = 2 judges; 12-35 Entries = 3 judges; 35-75 Entries = 4 judges; More than 75 entries = 5 judges. For debate, we require 1 judge per 2 Lincoln-Douglas debaters, 1 judge per 2 Public Forum teams, and 1 judge for each Policy team.

We sometimes have the ability to allow teams to buy out a limited portion of their judging obligation, but this cannot be guaranteed due to the unpredictable nature of our on-campus judging pool. So please, plan to send us your judges not your money, if at all possible.

COVID Protocols

MSU follows guidance from the Mississippi Department of Health. Based on current guidance as of the date of this writing, requirements are as follows.

All persons are required to wear a mask in all classrooms during scheduled class times. We plan to treat all competition rooms, student/judge lounges, prep rooms, and awards as “class times,” so masks will be required. Students may remove their mask for speaking/performance times only, but must wear them at all other times in competition rooms.

Additionally, unvaccinated individuals are required to wear masks in all indoor locations, not just classrooms. While we will not be checking vaccination status, we ask that everyone in attendance please comply in good faith. To ensure our ability to hold this and other events in the future, we reserve the right to disqualify or remove any person who fails to comply with these requirements after a warning.

Of course, this guidance can change if transmission rates change. We will keep you posted as events develop, so please keep an eye on your email as the tournament date approaches.


Per our usual practice, the Cowbell Classic will partner with the Stennis Center to provide a unique set of bills focused on a variety of topics, including legislation related to public service and other areas of focus for the Center. Legislation will be posted on Tabroom on or before January 3rd.


Please feel free to contact Brett Harvey at  brett.harvey@msstate.edu  or 662-325-8124 with any questions.

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone on January 21-22, 2022 for a weekend of fun and great competition. 


Hail State and warmest regards,

The MSU Speech & Debate Council