May 9, 2014 – Students participating in this weekend's National High School Mock Trial Championship – which kicked off yesterday and continues with competition rounds one and two today in Madison – are in for a treat, as long as they appreciate comical references to tombstones and severed hands.
The State Bar of Wisconsin’s National Host Committee has chosen to play up references to a “Zombiepocalypse,” a fictional component of the 2014 national case, offering participants who have ventured to Madison for the national championship an opportunity to let loose and have some fun with what is typically a highly competitive, very intense experience.
In the case, Zombiepocalypse refers to the name of a special 5K-type run that involves people acting as zombies and chasing runners along the route. Much of the case revolves around the fact that the owner of an energy drink company decided to promote his new beverage at the race.
“The amount of creativity in the case provided a great opportunity for our events committee to have some fun with the event planning, from zombie center pieces to ‘undead’ inflatable cows,” said National Mock Trial Executive Committee Event Planning Co-Chair Michael Mather. “With zombies creeping up all over TV and movies, it seemed like a relevant theme for students.”
The events kicked off yesterday evening with a traditional pin exchange – sorry folks, no zombies allowed – which gave students a chance to swap items from their home state with the other competitors. This also included a classic Wisconsin tailgate and an appearance by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Marching Band.
“The event went off without a hitch,” Mather said. “It was great to see all the students come together in support of a common goal. Plus, what better way to showcase Wisconsin than with bratwursts and the Badger Band.”
Mather said that he is eagerly awaiting tonight’s events, which include a zombie-themed costume contest, trivia tournament and ice cream social.
“I’m expecting the costume contest to be really great. We’ve been planning this event for a long time and I can’t wait to see the competitors shed their competition attire for something more creative,” Mather said. “The students work incredibly hard over the four days that they’re here, with two full days of scrimmages and practice sessions and two more days of official competition rounds.”
The competition rounds began today and will wrap up on Saturday. A final championship round will take place on Saturday afternoon at the Wisconsin State Capitol in the Supreme Court.
All the events are spread out between the Concourse Hotel – the central hub of the tournament – and the Dane County Courthouse and state Capitol. Other events will be held at Monona Terrace and the Best Western Inn on the Park.
Katie Stenz is the public affairs coordinator with the State Bar of Wisconsin. She can be reached at org kstenz wisbar wisbar kstenz org, or by phone at (608) 250-6145.
“Using the Concourse as the main venue provides the flexibility the teams need as the competition moves on to the later rounds,” Mather said. “Our goal was to make fun, accessible events, and we think we’ve met our goal.”
Teams have traveled from 43 states, as well as Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and South Korea.
“This is such a unique opportunity to acquaint a diverse group of people with Madison,” Mather said.
Everything concludes with a final event on Saturday evening. This is when the top ten teams will be announced. After awards are distributed and guests have participated in a formal dinner, students will have the option of staying late for a special dance party.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the event,” Mather said. “Everything has come together and I expect to see a very polished final product.”
Click here for event details.