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Again, we hope you'll keep us in mind when planning your 2017-2018 quiz bowl season!
Truman State University's Academic Competition Organization (TACO) is pleased to invite you to our inaugural TACO Bowl to be held on Saturday, April 22 in Kirksville, Missouri. This is a trash tournament written and directed entirely by members of our organization and inspired by the ACRONYM sets created by Play Quiz Bowl LLC. The goal of this tournament is to make trash quiz bowl more accessible to Midwest high school students who can't make it to NAQT or PACE Nationals, where the ACRONYM packets are read, as well as offering a fun laid back tournament toward the end of quiz bowl season.
I, Allyson Lotz, president of TACO, will be serving as Tournament Director and can be contacted at aml6832 [AT] truman [DOT] edu.
Saturday, April 22, 2017 (the weekend before MSHSAA Sectionals)
Check-in will begin at 8:30 AM, morning announcements will be at 8:50 AM, and games will begin at 9:00 AM.
Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. Building: Violette Hall (19 on this map), meeting in room 1010 (walk through the east doors toward the center of the building, and the room is slightly to your left). Parking rules on campus aren't enforced on weekends, so park where you'd like and where you can.
Fill out this Google form which will ask for your team name, team roster (if you have it), and how many buzzers and moderators you plan to bring, if any.
Base fee: $40
Buzzer discount: -$5 per functioning set, up to 2 discounts
Moderator discount: -$10 per moderator, up to 2 discounts (members/coaches from your team only, please)
Cash and checks will both be accepted. Please make checks out to "TSU Academic Competition Organization." All funds will go to the organization account and will help pay for our activity costs.
If this fee structure would prevent your team from attending our tournament, please contact us and we'll be happy to work with you.
Our starting cap for this tournament is 12 teams. Registration is public and open, and all teams are invited to register. However, this tournament is intended for teams from Northeast Missouri and the surrounding region. In the case of the registration cap being exceeded, regional teams will be given priority on the waitlist.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at aml6832 [AT] truman [DOT] edu. Additionally, if you wish to contact our organizational advisor, Dr. Sally West, you can reach her at swest [AT] truman [DOT] edu. We hope all of you can come!
The first thing I couldn't help but notice is that there has not been an academic high school tournament hosted by Truman State this season. Actually, according to moqba.org, there has not been an MOQBA-affiliated quizbowl tournament in Kirksville since Truman State ran something in 2014. I can't help but wonder if, rather than a trash tournament, the teams in your market would really be better benefited by you guys hosting an MOQBA-affiliated academic event, because it seems like that is a much more pressing vacuum in your particular market.
Making the problem worse, in the past when Truman was regularly hosting high-quality high school tournaments (using pyramidal questions in the 20/20 format), tournaments were often still very small. I played one in high school that attracted 10 teams, and your 2014 tournament had 7 teams, 4 of which came from Kirksville HS. Given that your market has always been small, and as best as I can tell nothing has been done to maintain it in the last 3 years, it honestly does not seem very surprising that a tournament hosted on questions which are not academic, and which is being held after the regular season ends for basically everybody in your region, was not going to be popular.
Separately, I think that there might not be much demand for a newly-written high school trash tournament even if you were to have a decent-sized group of local teams to draw on. Take the case of ACRONYM - this is an event which is popular because it's being held at the largest quizbowl tournament every year, full of teams which are very serious about quizbowl and also understand enough to know that it's kind of a fun, non-serious event. Even more crucially, it is open - adults can form their own teams and play. Thus, I don't think that bringing the ACRONYM experience to Kirksville is going to be a very tenable goal, as fun as it may have sounded to you, unless it is an open tournament which is attached to something else you host. Unfortunately, that "something else" will probably have to be a college tournament because of how inconvenient it is for adults to get to Kirksville otherwise, and how little interest there seems to be among high schools.
I don't want to quelch your fun - if you want to write trash questions, go hog wild I guess, but I can't help but think that it would be much better for both your interests and the interests of the academically curious high schoolers of rural northeast Missouri if you were to instead use your position as a club which can host tournaments to focus on getting local teams exposed to pyramidal academic quizbowl. You certainly don't need to waste time writing a new set for any of those events since there is an abundance of great quizbowl out there for you to mirror.
If your team were to spend the next couple years running 2 MOQBA-affiliated events each year, which were run squarely during the regular season and announced at least 2(-3) months in advance, I suspect you will find two things -
1. Your first year of tournaments, maybe more, will feel like there are tiny numbers of interested teams. You should not be discouraged by this, this is the nature of the beast when you have not hosted for high school in years.
2. By the end of those two years you will probably have a few loyal customers emerge, and reasons to hope and believe that you will get even more teams to show up for your third year of high quality academic events. If you have a loyal base, then yeah, maybe you can play around with creative ideas for other quizbowl tournaments.
I speak from experience - I spent years helping get MU's tournaments off the ground, which went from being routinely small to extremely large in about 3 years, at which point I had loyal customers and felt comfortable introducing new tournaments like the Pre-Nationals tournament (the first time anything was run out of season) or the singles championship (the first time there has been a solo tournament in Missouri). If I had just announced in my first year at MU that we were going to run one tournament, and it was going to be the singles event, and it was going to happen outside of the season with a month's warning, I guarantee you I would have been forced to come back a few weeks later and indefinitely postpone my event as well.
I guarantee you if you want to make the Kirksville area more vibrant for quizbowl, MOQBA would love to work with you to run the best academic tournaments in your region and could help you recruit many teams you might not otherwise attract. This is especially true because of how many Truman ACO alums are in MOQBA today and know what they're doing. I would strongly encourage you to email anybody in MOQBA's leadership, or post here, and ask for their advice on what the best way for you to get more teams to want to come to your events is. Your team is in a position to make a really big impact, and I just can't help but think that hosting a trash tournament this year is not going to help enough.