Jeffrey LewisVikings

My alma mater, Augustana College, home of the Vikings, hosts an annual college debate tournament.

This year’s trophy for first place in the open division?

[A Viking] battle axe—complete with blade guard and liability waiver.


It stands 3 1/2 feet tall, with the main blade measuring slightly less than a foot. And it is really sharp.

More photos, including the lucky winners.

Paul Adds

So why did the semi-finalists get bongs?


  1. Dan (History)

    Were you a college debater? I know that Paul was as well as a variety of the folks who frequent your board. BTW, USMA has a really cool trophy for their tournament as well, an officers sabre.

  2. jane (History)

    So by never doing debate I missed a key chance to win weapons? Damn.

  3. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    Yes, I debated for mighty Augustana College.

  4. Nick (History)

    “Trophy will cause extinction”—Awesome.

  5. Jeremy

    Kansas? Baylor? When did the Augie tournament start pulling such big names? And when did Notre Dame start doing NDT?

    The hardest part of setting up that tournament was finding suitable prizes for the speaker awards. Augie apparently has a full-time staff doing that now.

  6. Michael Roston (History)

    So looking forward to the days when a college debater might ask his or her coach “Who is Walter Russell Mead?”

  7. Kingdaddy (History)


    Viking axes looked more like these replicas than the debating trophy:

  8. Adam

    Though the photos are not as clear as one might like, this appears to be a replica of the rare and esteemed Viking “Forensics Axe” used to such effect by Erik the Red and other notable marauder/debaters. A difference-maker in 1AR.

  9. Victor (History)

    Policy Debate forever. I never realized they had such cool trophies at college tournaments.

  10. Todd

    One has to feel a little bit of sympathy for an author (Meade) whose huge citation count owes largely to bad paraphrasing: on what planet is a “danger to world order” equivalent to human extinction? Kids are so melodramatic these days.

  11. Rodger (History)

    Damn, I clearly debated (more than) two decades too soon.