The 2020 Great American Think-Off essay deadline has been extended to April 15, according to a New York Mills Cultural Center news release.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect daily lives, the committee hopes that while everyone adjusts to a new normal, this allows ample time for people to submit an essay answering this year’s question: “Which is more important: to win or to play by the rules?”

The guidelines are:

  • Write an essay of 750 words or less, based on personal observation and experience.
  • Submit your essay either online at, via email at or mail responses to Think-Off, c/o Cultural Center, P.O. Box 246, New York Mills, MN 56567. Essays must be submitted/sent/postmarked by April 15.

  • People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to submit an essay.

  • There is no fee to enter.

Four finalists will be selected by a volunteer committee who read the essays (with all personal information redacted) to ultimately select two finalists on each side of the debate. These four finalists will participate in three rounds of live debate on June 13 with an all-expenses paid weekend in New York Mills and $500 cash prizes. The individual who makes the best argument will be selected by audience vote as “America’s Greatest Thinker” for 2020.

The live debate event is scheduled for Saturday, June 13 at 7 p.m. at the New York Mills School Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 218-385-3339.