Shelby Jo Long-Hammond, associate professor of communication studies, director of forensics, 406.657.1054,
RMC Media Team, 406.657.1105, 

RMC debate team places second at Rimrock Classic Debate Tournament

BILLINGS, August 27, 2014 – The Rocky Mountain College Debate Team placed second in the Rimrock Classic Debate Tournament on September 12-14, 2014. Steve Llano, a world-recognized debate coach from St. John’s University in New York was the guest lecturer during the tournament and workshop weekend. Five other colleges with over 60 competitors participated in the Rimrock Classic. Other participating colleges included Carroll College, Snow College, Denver University, University of Great Falls, and Idaho State University. 

David Fejeran, a sophomore social studies and secondary education major at RMC from Los Angeles, Calif., along with Holly Todd, a senior business and communication studies major from Roundup, Mont., competed in the final round with three other teams to place second overall. This marks the first time an RMC team has placed in the final round of this tournament.   

Steve Llano is a debate coach from St. Johns’ University in New York. He has coached many forms of debate around the world. He enjoys coming to Rocky to coach because it’s a new and vibrant environment for debate: “I like to come out here because [debate] is new here and I can impact it in a large capacity … it’s a great way to teach what I’m interested in. Debate brings it all together.” 

Other RMC teams that competed at the tournament consisted of Daniel Murphy from Harlow, Mont., and Annastacia Anderson from Denver, Colo.; Shay Sturdevant from Absorkee, Mont., and Tessa Fraser from Missoula, Mont.; Gerald Giebink from Billings, Mont., and Jack Jennaway from Roundup, Mont.; Nancy White from Gilette, Wyo., and Samantha Zetler from Shepard, Mont.; Karen Wray from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Flavia Siqueira from Brazil; Gavin Myers from Billings, Mont., and Molly Davis from Traverse City, Mich.; and Alex Orokotan from Dallas, Texas, teamed with representatives from Idaho State. Communication Studies Professor and Director of Forensics at Carroll College Brent Northrup, said, “Having a warm hostess like Shelby Jo and a brilliant teacher like Steve starts the year off brilliantly.” 

Director of Forensics and Associate Professor of Communication Studies professor Shelby Jo Long-Hammond believes that debate teaches more than just how to speak well or argue, it teaches how to think critically. “Becoming a critical listener and thinker is essential. Just think about what we’re fed in the media … it’s essential for everyone,” she said. Llano added to this, “It’s not about what’s true, but the investigation. Debate is about inquiry, like a laboratory.”

In the nine years that Long-Hammond has run the program, RMC debaters have argued their way across the country and world, including Slovenia and Ireland. Long-Hammond will accompany two of her teams to Greece in late October. The RMC debate program also plans on attending tournaments in Denver, Calgary, and Powell this year. To fund all of these argumentative expeditions the team will be hosting a Trivia Tournament in November and a public debate and fundraiser in Roundup, Mont. Long-Hammond also plans on continuing their unique program of bring debate education to tribal colleges across Montana. 

Keep in touch with the team through Facebook and Twitter by following the RMC Debate page. All students are welcome to attend practices in Morledge-Kimball room 125 on Tuesdays and Thursday from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. For more information or questions, contact Shelby Jo Long-Hammond at