The new economic geography (NEG) has become a mainstay of regional science in the last two decades, as signified by the awarding of Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize. Yet, most American regional scientists and urban/regional economists do not use NEG in determining regional growth patterns. Instead, they rely on factors such as natural amenity migration, whose roots lie back to the work of Philip Graves in the mid 1970s. Conversely, two of the world's leading economic geographers – Allen Scott and Michael Storper – have strongly argued that job availability not household amenities have determined US regional dynamics. Given the disparity of views over the largest developed economy in the world, we hold a competition to determine which of these leading contenders accurately predict US interregional growth dynamics over the last 40–60 years. The runaway winner of the duel is natural amenity led growth with the crown going to Graves. Implications are drawn for both empirical research and EU economic integration.