Joseph S. Rumbaugh Oration Contest

Contest Overview

The Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest is a youth program sponsored by the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution that encourages high school students to research a topic pertaining to the American Revolutionary War time period and then write about and orate on their topic. The contest promotes historical accuracy, significance, relevance to current events, and of course a dynamic and proficient execution. Oratorical abilities continue to be important in many aspects of life, and the SAR hopes to encourage students to develop and refine these skills.

VASSAR Oration Committee

The Virginia State Society Oration Contest Committee has several functions:

  • Provide a central point of contact for anyone in the state interested in participating in the oration contest
  • Provide resources and guidance to Virginia SAR Chapters on recruiting oration contestants, running a local contest, and selecting the best candidate to enter in the State competition.
  • Accept chapter submissions, organize and conduct the State level contest, and submit the State winner to the National contest
  • Coordinate travel for state winners that are chosen to participate in person at the SAR National Congress and support those participants as they represent Virginia.

Entering the Oration Contest

Participants will need to contact a local SAR chapter where they will compete (if there are multiple entries) to be selected as the Chapter winner. Chapters will recruit participants through the early school year (September to December) and finalize their contest and select a winner sometime in January. To find a local chapter, contact the state chairman at the email address below.

Chapter winners are then sponsored by the chapter to compete at the state contest at the VASSAR Annual Meeting in February. These submissions are due to the State Oration Chairman two weeks prior to the meeting (around the last week of January).

State entries are due to the National Chairman in May, and the national contest is conducted at the SAR Annual Congress in July.

Download the appropriate forms to enter the contest here:

Participants: Youth Entry Form.pdf
Youth Biographical Sketch.pdf
Youth Contest Release.pdf
Chapter Chairmen: SAR Chapter Entry Form (Send to State).pdf


Chapter prizes vary, but the state-level prizes are as follows:

  • $1,000 for First Place
  • $500 for Second Place
  • $300 for Third Place

All winners receive a certificate, and the first place winner also receives a handsome medallion on a neck ribbon.

Additional Information

For more information about the contest, or for more details about contacting a local chapter, please email the Chairman Darrin Schmidt at [email protected].

Chairmen and contestants are encouraged to download the Oration Contest Judging Sheet and review the requirements before the contest.

Additional information about the current rules and qualifications for entry can be found on the National SAR website’s Oration page. This page also features videos of winners from previous years.