The Bill Tate is an invitation-only tournament and this year the pool consisted of 16 of the best Extempers in the country. Delbarton Forensic Society Moderator LaJuan Foust says, "It is also kind of a haul as competitors have 10 rounds where they must prepare a 7 minute speech followed by a 3 minutes of cross-examination."
Begun in 1982 and formerly known as the Southern Bell, the tournament has earned respect for its unique combination of the highest levels of Southern hospitality (including an abundance of GooGoo Clusters*) and highest levels of competition. For the previous 31 years, Mr. William Woods Tate, Jr, popularly known as Billy, developed the legacy into a regular policy tournament, a Lincoln-Douglas Round Robin and an Extemporaneous Speaking Round Robin.
By limiting the competition to only the most talented and experienced teams from around the country, the level of competition is fierce, and the tourney is consistently one of the most difficult policy debate tournaments of the year. Only the best of the best compete.
* From the Montgomery Bell Academy website: "Perhaps the only thing more renowned about the Southern Bell than the coaches' bells, the competitor gifts, the high level of competition, the ground breaking strike sheets, the MBA debaters moving tubs or the overall hospitality, is the abundance of GooGoo Clusters. Invented in 1912 in Nashville, the GooGoo cluster is the world's first ever combination candy bar. The unique name, suggested by a schoolteacher, brings debaters mouths to water across the country as they look forward to the special recipe that first brought together luscious caramel, smooth creamy marshmallow, and fresh roasted peanuts into a round mound surrounded by a thick coating of pure milk chocolate."