Haines Glacier Bards competitors at state championships. From left to right: Kayla Cone, Willa Stuart, Selby Long, Aimee Lahr, Maddox Rogers and Colin Aldassy. (Photo courtesy of Maddox Rogers)

Haines sophomore Maddox Rogers’ solo pantomime performance about a cowboy duel took the top spot at the state 2024 Debate, Drama and Forensics Championships in Anchorage. 

Rogers developed the piece — a short comedy of errors about a standoff in which “one of the cowboys keeps failing miserably in a series of escalating comedic situations.” 

“It ends with me getting shot in a very funny way,” said Rogers, a musician, who also edited the accompanying audio track. 

Although he said he worked hard on the performance, he also was surprised to beat out teams made up of several people after he decided on an unorthodox idea of doing a solo mime show. 

“I thought it was really funny to have one person doing a mime,” said Rogers, “I was definitely shocked to see it do as well as it did.”

Rogers’s performance was one of several strong showings by the small, young, and dedicated Haines DDF team, which took third in both the drama and forensics categories this year. The team has no seniors, and is made up of just six members. Coach Hannah Bochart said the crew got off to a slow start, with some members joining late, and others not making practices because of vacations. 

“We eased in the season slower than we normally do,” said Bochart, in her seventh year. “Getting pieces polished and ready this year took a little longer than usual.”

She said the team gained strength and finesse throughout the season thanks to lots of hard work. Among the other top performers was Selby Long, a junior, who scored her second straight second-place finish in the extemporaneous commentary category. 

The category challenges speakers to come up with a well-argued speech on a topic with just 20 minutes of preparation. Long was given a topic on the status of women. She said it was a topic she was passionate about, and her arguments included references to the female-dominated voices on our modern technology devices like Siri and Alexa, and backlash against Taylor Swift attending the Super Bowl this year. 

Long barely kept her speech under the allowable five-minute timeline. 

“I had a lot to say about that one,” said Long. “I was very proud of it.”

Rogers joined Colin Aldassy for a strong performance in the competitive improvised duet acting. The duo finished in fourth with a skit called “Sorry dude, I’m trying to go vegan so I’m gonna have to eat you,” originally written by Bradley Walton. 

Maddox said the pair found the skit shortly after competing in the same category last year.

“It’s an absolute joy to perform,” said Rogers. 

The team is now done with competition for the year. Bochart said she’s honored to be the coach for the kids, even with the substantial commitment it takes and is already looking forward to next year. 

“We did very well this year, and it’s only up from here,” she said.