Toastmasters host speech contest

PLYMOUTH — Area 12 and 13 Toastmasters were entertained for nearly three hours Saturday morning in Plymouth during the annual Humorous Speech Contest.
Rules for the contest were strictly adhered to including a time limit of speech length from five to seven minutes with a disqualification clause for any speech fewer than four minutes and 30 seconds or longer than seven minutes and 30 seconds. Official timekeeper was Eric Anderson of the Wythogan Club of Plymouth.
The six contestants vying for the Area 13 honors included two speakers from Plymouth and four from the Bob Richmond Memorial Evening Toastmasters of Warsaw.
In the end, Steve Wilkin-son of South Whitley was presented with the winner’s trophy. He will advance to the district level contest to be held in September.
Wilkinson shared his real or imaginary adventures in honing his survival skills while living in his back yard for a year. His story progressed to a portrayal of a following of 250,000 viewers on a blogsite.
Rodney Jacobs of Ply-mouth expanded on his difficulties in making it through surveillance at an airport with his speech entitled “Traveling Is for the Birds.”
Jacobs, who sports broad shoulders, demonstrated the way to get through the metal detectors without touching your shoulders to the sides and setting off the alarms.
Also representing the Wythogan Club was a new resident to Plymouth, An-nika Piazza. Piazza took the audience through the trials of a four-month long search for a new home that would fit the needs of her family that includes teenagers.
“The kids thought they had a 50 percent vote,” she said, “but there is no majority rule in buying a house.”
Devendra Aher, who is originally from India, easily showed the comparisons of shopping with a spouse no matter where you live in his speech entitled “Shopping With a Sweetheart.” He got nods of approval from the men in the audience as he explained, “The only reason I’m asked for my opinion while shopping is so there is someone to blame if it’s the wrong choice.”
Bob Derbyshire and John Keeney resorted to using “props” to make their points. Derbyshire showed his interpretation of the food pyramid saying, “There are some foods that are just carriers. The baked potato is only a carrier for butter and sour cream.” Keeny was received second place in the contest. He used everything from toilet paper to a rabbit in a hat to inform the group as to how to use the right ingredients when making a speech.
Advancing from Area 12 was Chuck Kurk.
Kurk’s speech was “Starlight Report-Starlight Report.” He, too, used props including duct tape, chewing gum, baling wire and a gavel to take the audience through his life as “Captain Kurk of Starship Reject.” Kurk also advances to the district level.
Toastmasters began in 1924 in Santa Ana, Calif. Toastmasters International has grown to nearly 260,000 members in more than 12,500 clubs in 113 countries. Their goal is to help people become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience. At their regular meetings, Toastmaster members critique each other’s speeches in a positive manner.