Monthly Archives: May 2011

President Knowles reports on hot night with Mary Heary

The 2011 Mary Heary Tall Tales Contest

Hosted by First Oakville Toastmasters

On Tuesday May 24 at The Quality Hotel

Well, it was certainly a great evening full of surprises.  It all started with the realization that the Contest Kit would probably not make it from TI on time.  It was shipped on May 9th rush,   but had failed to arrive by the 19th.  Plan B kicked in as e-mails went out and the contest Chief Judge rummaged through the spares box.  A little judicious photo copying  and voila, enough paperwork to warm the cockles of any bureaucrat.  Of course, once Dave had everything under control the kit arrived in the mail on the 24th, just in time to be put in the spares box for next year.

Upon arriving at the venue  a late afternoon sun was streaming though the lobby windows casting a warm golden glow over everything…., and the stairs had been stained and varnished, and were closed to traffic.  Everyone had to ride the 1 floor on the elevators.

Next came the collection of the gate fee.  We had 41 people pay up. It was a beautiful night, the sun was shining, a bit of a breeze in the air, the first nice dry day in a bit and we still had over 40 people show up.  Amazing.  Everyone was in high spirits.  As it came time to start the show the contestants were;

  1. John Smissen, Mighty Oaks – Pillow Fighting
  2. James Brown, OPS Bravehearts – The telephone Guy
  3. Thomas Lewis, OPS Bravehearts – Australian Adventure
  4. Matt Wagner, First Oakville – Hot Sauce
  5. Deborah Bartucci, First Oakville – Thorn In My Side (Roses)
  6. Joan Graham, Trafalgar – Extreme Makeover
  7. Paul Shemilt, Glen Abbey – Antiquing
  8. Gary Bruce, Trafalgar  – Credit Card in Las Vegas
  9. Ankur Tayal, Glen Abbey – Song For The World
  10. Loreen Paterick, Mighty Oaks – Selective Amnesia

All titles are approximate.

The Introduction to the chair Katherine Ryell was wonderfully done by Heather Harkness.  Katherine took control and passed it over to chief judge Dave Webster for the rules and then got down to business.

The speeches were all excellent, and as can be seen from the titles, ranged far and wide in their content.  We were given excellent displays of vocal variety, whole body movement, gestures, pacing, and pauses.  You name, it was used.  We went to break and all the coffee and most of the tea was used up.  There was only 1 cookie left.  It took a while to coral all the cats back into the meeting.  It was a wonderful social time.

And then it was Katherine’s turn.  She was complimented for her wit during the intro and Katherine was on form that night.  Katherine is deceiving.  She starts out with this mild manner and disarming smile.  And then she lines you up like Johnny Carson when he was at his prime.  She throws out these wonderful little one liners and if the speaker isn’t paying attention they would not be able to extricate themselves with a John Deere back hoe.  Poor Paul Shemilt from the Glen Abbey club.  He started up at the knees.  Two sentences later he was up to his waist, then chest.  Everyone was holding their breath to see if he was going to fall for the last trap. The anticipation was crazy.  Most professional stand-ups would kill for that kind of room buzz.  And fall he did.  The room was having a blast.

After the fun it was time to count the scores.  Unfortunately we did have a time fault.   Just to build even more excitement the area governor Doug Carr gave a very good wrap up speech before the winners were announced.

Gary Bruce from Trafalgar placed third with his wonderful performance of a Visa card in Las Vegas.  He was completely on form and even ripped off his pop button shirt to show off a Las Vegas t-shirt.  The whole place gave him an ahhhhhhhhh when his young son gave him a hug.  Second place was taken by Deborah Bartucci for her rousing story about her body producing 100 roses a day.  There was a wonderful line in her story where she stated that her husband still chases her around the house, but now with pruning shears.  But I guess you should expect that from a professional male pillow fighter in a women’s pillow fighting league.

And the grand winner of the event was….TADAAAAAA….are you ready for it!!! Matt Wagner and his Puerta Vallarta hot sauce flatulence  story.  Matt was on that night, but he had to be given the really stiff competition.  He dug really deep and gave a masterful performance.  Fabulous vocal variety; loud, soft, roguish, straight up, fast, slow, bellowing , great gestures, eye contact and purposeful whole body movement.   The story was a cohesive whole and the construction was very smooth.

And then it was over.

It was a very good contest. It was a very good evening, and a good time was truly had by all.  As per normal the usual motley crew decamped to the bar to ruminate to the proceedings.

In summary, 40 per cent of the contestants had ties to First Oakville, and the first and second place winners were from First Oakville.  Yes, it was a very good night for everyone.