Talkin’ Broncos: Underrated national champions

Boise State is a national championship school.

No, the championship has nothing to do with Kellen Moore and that championship will not go away now that Coach Pete has left.

These national champions don’t toss a ball around or run laps to warm up. No, they prefer to talk to walls and wander through campus with black binders in their hands talking to themselves. These champions are the Talkin’ Broncos.

The Talkin’ Broncos won first place in the 83rd annual Mahaffey Memorial Tournament in McMinville, Ore., Nov. 15-17.

Talkin’ Broncos were successful throughout the rest of the season as well, winning at numerous other conferences throughout the nation.

The Talkin’ Broncos continue on to Pacific University in January.

Manda Hicks, director of forensics, elaborated on what this win said about the Talkin’ Broncos.

“This win means that the team has really come together to be the best it can be—and that’s not easy,” Hicks said.

According to Hicks, the Talkin’ Broncos are not about individual wins, but about winning as a team.

“We’ll have four first places which is phenomenal, but we will also have people who really get outside of their comfort zone and have some personal sacrifice for the team and maybe work really hard at something that doesn’t come naturally to them,” Hicks said.  “And their four points that came from something they usually don’t compete in adds just as much to the win as someone who got first place.”

Hicks explained there are many reasons why the Talkin’ Broncos is a unique team.

“They’re special because they’re national champions for the second consecutive year in a row. They are also the Northwest Forensics Conference champions for the past 11 years,” Hicks said. “We are one of the few programs in the United States that do more than one kind of debate format.”

While most debate programs specialize in one type of debate, the Talkin’ Broncos usually compete in three types of debate— sometimes four.

On top of their overall excellence in competitions, the Talkin’ Broncos stand out because of their dedication to Boise State and the community.

The team volunteers for local high schools to judge tournaments and to work one on one with students. They also volunteer at the Idaho Foodbank.

The Talkin’ Broncos have gone to assisted living facilities and hosted events there and adopted families for Christmas.

Hicks wished more people on campus recognized the work the Talkin’ Broncos do.

“I think Boise State students would be proud to know we have a national championship speech and debate program here,” Hicks said.

Dalton Hellman,  history major and member of the Talkin’ Broncos, came to Boise State because of the debate team.

He participated in junior college debate and upon watching the Broncos take first at the Mahaffey Memorial Tournament, decided to pack his bags and head to Boise.

“What better team to compete with than the national champions?” Hellman asked.

Taylor Ashe,  political science major and member of the Talkin’ Broncos, is proud of her team and disappointed in the lack of recognition the campus gives to them.

“We’re underrated,” Ashe said.

Member voices:

Lauren Bramwell, political science and communication major

Debate is wonderful because it allows us to discuss ideas; it allows us to engage in important dialogue and discuss social problems and possible solutions….but I’m proud to be a Talkin’ Bronco because we don’t just talk the talk, we try to walk the walk too.

KayCee Babb, history major

“We’re a great group of people who just work well together. There’s great community and partnership. We’re a family.”

Dalton Hellman, history major

“I’m proud to be a Talkin’ Bronco because this is a family I can be a part of for years and years. I don’t have any family in Boise but I feel like this is my family.”

Taylor Ashe, political science major

“It’s being a part of such a great group of people. They’re not only my team, they’re my best friends and I wouldn’t want to trade it for anything else.”

Fred Swanstrun, political science and communication major

“The biggest thing for me is that it’s like we’re all in this experience together and we are learning how to be better people and how to be a part of something bigger together and how we can influence other people in a good way.”

Devon Downey, political science major

“It’s mostly the family aspect. I probably spend more time with these guys than my own family. We spend so much time together, not because we have to but because we want to.”









About the author  ⁄ mallorybarker


Mallory is currently a junior at Boise State studying English and Communications with a minor in Political Science. Mallory is the editor for the News section of The Arbiter. She is also the anchor for The Arbiter Minute.