Tall Tales Contest 2024

Tall Tales Contest 2024

Since childhood, we are all encouraged to avoid telling tall tales. At Toastmasters not only is it strongly encouraged, but there is an entire contest dedicated to it. The Cambridge Toastmasters Tall Tales Contest took place at the Allan Reuters Center on the evening of June 6th, 2024. Contestants, Toastmasters, and guests began arriving at 6:30 and chairman Mackenzie Ferreira promptly commenced the proceedings at 7:00 pm. After giving a small welcoming and reaching out to guests for an introduction he called to the lectern Kevin Swayze, Chief Judge.

Swayze efficiently and eloquently presented the contests rules. This was beneficial for both contestants and audience members especially those who were new to the experience and trying to figure out what they should be expecting from the contest.

Rosario Estela presented the opening speech and set an excellent tone as to what the audience should expect over the next 45 minutes or so. Her story telling was masterful with twists and turns that nobody could have foreseen.

Neila Ramsingh kept the show going with an incredible story about being rag dolled by a cow back home in Guyana. Her incredible use of adjectives to set the scene of her speech really made us feel like we were there with her being tossed around by this cow in the rain.

The next tall tale was delivered by Puneet. Puneet's was the only speech of the evening that brilliantly explored themes of the paranormal and clairvoyance. These are dangerous topics in this contest that risks total unbelievability. Puneet masterfully dealt with these, presenting her story in a way that made you tilt your head and think, is it possible that she has some sort of extra-sensory perception.

Then we turned to what chair Mackenzie Ferreira referred to as the “Andrew’s portion of the evening" (a comic remark referring to the fact that the next two speakers are named Andrew). Andrew Bol told the incredible story of Drumbo Dan and all of his escapades at camp when Andrew was a boy scout.

Andrew McCormick-Johnson told us about his great- great- great- grandfathers community theatre in Toronto and his signing of the Cherry sisters as a headline act. McCormick-Johnson gave a hilarious recounting of the torture his ancestor bore by having these two sisters who had 0 talent continually perform at his theatre.

After Andrew McCormick-Johnsons speech, the audience members filled in their ballots, which were all collected by our counters. Once the counters took all the ballots to the greenroom to be counted, we broke for a small break. The break is a great opportunity for members and guests alike to socialize and network with each other.

After the break Mackenzie Ferreira, as contest chair, did a series of interviews in a fireside chat format. He congratulated contestants on their participation and asked a variety of questions primarily pertaining to how the contestants went about taking events that have actually happened to them and stretch and deform the reality of the events into a tall tales speech.

Finally, the contest chair announced the results:

Third Place: 

Andrew McCormick-Johnson

Third Place: Andrew McCormick-Johnson

Second Place: 

Puneet Kaur

Second Place: Puneet Kaur

First Place: 

Andrew Bol

First Place: Andrew Bol

Congratulations to all our contestants and winners. The quality of the speeches was absolutely exceptional.

Mackenzie Ferreira would like to take a moment to acknowledge some people without whom this contest would not have happened. Thank-you to Kevin Swayze who’s guidance and advice was very appreciated throughout the planning of the contest. Swayze was also the Chief Judge and helped ensure that all contests had correct understandings of the rules. Thank-you to Adam DeMille who last minute stepped up to be the timer and alleviate Rosario from doing double duty of speaking and timing. Thank-you also to Piyush Nanda and Jing Li for their efforts in ensuring ballots were collected and counted in a timely manner. And finally, thank-you to all the contestants of the speech contest. Without your dedication to your craft and willingness to share your story, there is no contest.

If you are looking to develop your public speaking and leadership skills, come join us at one of our weekly Cambridge Toastmasters club meetings. The meetings take place on Thursdays at the Allen Reuters Center in Cambridge. Start time is 6:45pm. Guests are always welcome. You will not regret it

Rosario Estela being interviewed by Mackenzie Ferreira

Rosario Estela being interviewed by Mackenzie Ferreira

Neila Ramsingh being interviewed by Mackenzie Ferreira

Neila Ramsingh being interviewed by Mackenzie Ferreira

Puneet Kaur being interviewed by Mackenzie Ferreira

Puneet Kaur being interviewed by Mackenzie Ferreira

Andrew McCormick-Johnson being interviewed by Mackenzie Ferreira

Andrew McCormick-Johnson being interviewed by Mackenzie Ferreira

Andrew Bol being interviewed by Mackenzie Ferreira

Andrew Bol being interviewed by Mackenzie Ferreira