More Ways to Win in 2016 Great American Think-Off

IMG_3160 copyAmerica’s everyday philosophers have a new incentive to share their thoughts with the nation this year.

The Great American Think-Off, a philosophy contest held annually in the small rural town of New York Mills, Minnesota, is now offering a category of “Honorable Mentions” along with the traditional Final Four winners. Five additional top essayists from each side will receive a “Great American Thinker” certificate, their choice of Think-Off memorabilia, recognition in the Think-Off program, and will have their essays published after the final debate.

Executive Director Betsy Roder explains, “The judging committee often reads essays that raise excellent points even if the entrants don’t quite make the cut to the Final Four. This is a way the Think-Off can showcase the wide variety of responses we get in addition to the top selections. We also hope it encourages more armchair philosophers to participate, knowing that even if they aren’t selected as one of the top four, their opinions might still be honored, and they may still be able to win a prize and be published.”

With a national election right around the corner, this year the Great American Think-Off wants to know if people agree or disagree with this statement: “Income Inequality Threatens Democracy”. Although the question format is slightly different from years past, entrants should still take a strong stand agreeing or disagreeing, and are encouraged to base their arguments on personal experience and observations rather than philosophical abstraction.

There is no fee to enter the contest; simply submit an essay explaining your position in 750 words or less by April 1, 2016. Essays can be submitted online (click here), by email to, or by mail to Think-Off, c/o Cultural Center, P.O. Box 246, New York Mills, MN 56567.

In addition to the ten Honorable Mentions, the two top entries from each side will be selected by May 1, 2016, and these four writers invited to debate the topic live on Saturday, June 11, 2016 in New York Mills. Each of the four top finalists receives $500, and a chance to win the bronze, silver, or gold medals by participating in this unique civic event. The event’s host, the New York Mills Cultural Center, also covers costs for the Final Four’s travel, food, and lodging.

Tickets to attend this event are now available for sale. Cost is $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets or by calling the Center or stopping by.

For more information, contact the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339.