Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Kentucky Derby 101.7: Why Kentucky Goes Completely Apeshit for Derby

You're a sports fan. You know that The Derby is a big deal, only because you have always been told that it is really important. But what's the big deal? You don't really get it - to you it's just a horse race like any other, because no one has ever taken the time to explain to you WHY it is so celebrated by the horse racing masses. That's where I come in. The 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th of several installments.

First off, the horse industry(racing, breeding, training, etc.) is one of if not the #1 industry in the state of Kentucky. There are horse farms everywhere you go, and horses and horse racing are deeply embedded into the social fabric of the state.

Secondly, Kentuckians don't have many other sporting options to celebrate. There are no professional sports teams in Kentucky. UK (Kentucky) & UofL (Louisville) basketball are the biggest things going sports wise, and people certainly are passionnate about their college basketball, but that is about it. The Derby is the one sporting event each year where the eyes of the world are turned on Kentucky.


Derby: even more popular
than
dick at UK
It is their one moment in the sun, so they view it as not only a sporting event, but as a cultural celebration of Kentucky itself, and civic pride surrounding the event is massive. The week leading up to the Derby is full of an insane number of celebratory events such as fireworks & airshow "Thunder over Louisville", a giant Pegasus Parade, a steamboat race on the river, a hot air baloon race, a bunch of festivals, a basketball tournament, a marathon/half marathon, something called "Chow Wagon" (I've been- it sucks), too many concerts to count, and about 300 billion parties. The entire list of events is 50 times longer than this and can be found here.

Oh, and Churchill Downs has one of the best weeks of quality horse racing to be had at any track in North America. Hell, 100,000 people go to Churchill Downs on Oaks Day (the day before Derby Saturday). Also on this Friday before Derby many local businesses close, and the local schools are off as well.

This is their time to shine, they know it, and they never fail to go all out for Derby*. I dare say that there is not a sporting event in America that is as embraced and celebrated by a local and state community than the Derby.

*In Loo-ah-vul (1 syllable), it is simply called "Derby" by the locals, as in "Kanu? Brain here. When are you comin' in for Derby?". Similarly, this year's event is often referred to as "Derby 132" rather than "The 132nd Kentucky Derby"

5 comments:

OMAA said...

Kanu,

In the last paragraph, you made a mistake.

Similarly, this year's event is often referred to as "Derby 132" rather than "The 132nd Kentucky Derby"

Should be:

Similarly, this year's event is often referred to as "Derby 132" rather than "The 132nd Kentucky Derby Presented by YUM! Brands"

Brain said...

omaa, we have already had that discussion in a past post.

Kanu said...

Yum! Brands can piss off:

http://dodgyatbest.blogspot.com/2006/04/from-dept-of-are-you-shitting-me.html

Anonymous said...

The Hit said...

Kanu, you forgot the other industry Kentuckians have to hold up in all its glory:

http://www.kybourbon.com

Kanu said...

The Hit-

Of course, my man. I just figured that one went without saying.

I just arrived in Louisville, and I am looking forward meeting up with you to partaking in the sweet symmetry that ensues when these two industries meet.