28th Annual Think-Off
Saturday, June 12, 2021 @ 7pm
Held @ NYM School Auditorium
Reception to follow @ Cultural Center

The 2021Think-Off debate will be held at the New York Mills School Auditorium on Saturday, June 12th, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.  Doors open to the public at 6:00 p.m.  All are invited to attend the debate and cast your vote to help select America’s Greatest Thinker for 2021!

Tickets are on sale NOW!  Adults are just $12 advance or $15 at the door; students $5.  Click button below to buy tickets online.  We continue to follow COVID safety guidelines.  The location of the debate will allow for adequate distancing, and masks will be available, but not required.  Click here for more information about our COVID response: kulcher.org/cultural-center-covid-response/

Buy Think-Off Tickets

Immediately following the debate, all are welcome to gather at the Cultural Center to enjoy light refreshments and a cash bar, and engage the finalists in further discussion. Due to the COVID pandemic, refreshments will be limited, and spreading out throughout the building and outdoors on our deck will be encouraged.

In order to reach a more broad audience this year, we will be livestreaming the debate on our YouTube channel!

Watch the Think-Off on YouTube >

If you do choose to log on virtually, please consider making a donation to help us continue our working in cultivating the arts and civil discourse in rural America!

Donate now to support civil discourse >


This year’s Think-Off question is:

Which is more important: to win or to play by the rules?

This timeless yet timely philosophical topic will be debated by the 2021 top four essayists (in alphabetical order): AJ Gil of Atlanta, GA; Angela Stehr of St. Paul, MN; Bill Sutherland of Eden Prairie, MN; and Daniel Tschida of Minneapolis, MN. Gil and Stehr will argue that it is more important to win, while Sutherland and Tschida will argue that it is more important to play by the rules. Click below to learn more about these four finalists.

Read more about the 2021 finalists here >


We are pleased to announce that Tami Vigesaa will moderate the live debate this year. Tami is a Sociology Instructor at M-State and lives in Fergus Falls, MN, with her family. She is the co-host of the Flyover Logic podcast, where she and her friend Mike discuss current events and work through hot button issues while modeling productive conversation between two people with different political views. The podcast was born during the lockdown stage of the pandemic last spring, and has quickly become a favorite hobby. She enjoys reading and almost anything outdoors, and lives in MN for the summers when you can typically find her floating in the pool or lake with a glass of iced tea.


Think-Off Kick-Off Friday June 11, 2021

Join us in kicking off the 2021 Great American Think-Off weekend on Friday, June 11th 2021 with events from 5-8pm at the Cultural Center!

  • 5pm Historical Downtown NYM Walking Tour: Hosted by Otter Tail County Historical Society’s Chris Schuelke, meet @ Cultural Center. Cost $6/person to OTCHS.
  • 6-8pm Finalists & Artists Reception: Welcome the Think-Off finalists and honor regional artists featured in our current gallery show, The Happiness Project. Refreshments provided and cash bar available. Live local music 6-7pm, Artist Talks @ 7pm. Free to attend & open to all!


For a list of the past 27 years of Think-Off questions, click below.

Think-Off History


We would like to thank Mid-State Auto Auction for being our major event sponsor once again this year. Mid-State’s annual support of this event makes it possible for us to continue to support civil discourse in rural Minnesota. Thank you Mid-State!

We would also like to thank the following local businesses and organizations for their partnerships/sponsorships of the Great American Think-Off. We are so grateful for our community’s support!

  • Whistle Stop Bed & Breakfast
  • Grassroots Ottertail
  • F&M Insurance Agency
  • Klein Insurance
  • Leighton Broadcasting
  • New York Mills Civic & Commerce Association
  • Farmers & Merchants State Bank
  • New York Mills Dispatch
  • The Preuss Agency — Farmers Union Agency, Inc.
  • New York Mills Public Schools

Interesting in becoming a sponsor? Email betsy@kulcher.org.

Questions or want more information? Give us a call at 218-385-3339.