Great American Think-Off extends essay deadline

The Great American Think-Off committee announced it has extended the deadline for essays for the 2020 Great American Think-Off to Wednesday, April 15, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s question: “Which is more important: to win or to play by the rules?” The committee further clarified, "Everyone likes to win, but at what cost? What if the rules aren’t fair? What do YOU think?"

Essayists should answer that question in 750 words or less, based on personal observation and experience, to win one of four $500 cash prizes, plus an all-expense-paid weekend in New York Mills for the live debate at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 13, at the New York Mills School Auditorium.

People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to submit an essay. There is no fee to enter.

Essays can be submitted the preferred method, at , or via email at, or by mail to Think-Off, c/o Cultural Center, P.O. Box 246, New York Mills, MN 56567.


A volunteer committee will read the essays to ultimately select two finalists on each side of the debate. These four finalists will participate in three rounds of live debate. The person who makes the best argument will be selected by audience vote as “America’s Greatest Thinker” for 2020.

Tickets are sold at or at 218-385-3339. For more information, visit or call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339.

The Great American Think-Off, in its 28th year, bills itself as an exhibition of civil disagreement between powerful ideas being explored by everyday people.

What To Read Next
Get Local