Ten Things I Learned About Being at the Kentucky Derby
Last year, my friend Jaclyn, and I went down to broadcast live and film some videos from the Kentucky Derby and we are headed back down on Thursday night. In preparation for our trip, I had reread the advice I had from last year. And, I thought I’d share it with you if you are planning to go.
Here are some things I learned while at the Derby.:
1. Things Never Go as Planned
I spent hours planning for this past weekend. I loaded every piece of equipment I have access to, painstakingly created custom intros for our videos and mapped out our plan with our corporate team. Did any of it go as planned? NOPE! FYI – there is basically NO internet in Louisville the entire weekend and our video editing app took a nosedive after the first video. So, we had to wing it. Since it was our first time there, we were completely lost the first day but by the second day, we had our bearings. And we rocked it!
2. Wear Flats (or at Least Bring Flats)
I grabbed some cute wedges to wear at the Derby. After about 15 minutes, I realized I couldn’t successfully run in them – which is what we did all day for two days — so I had to ditch them at the media center. Pointless…
3. Southern Hospitality is Alive and Thriving in KY
From the police greeting each person with “Have fun today,” to the dressed out Seaman who helped us down from the red carpet stage to each and every person who aided us, smiled and treated each other with kindness – it was a refreshing insight that Southern hospitality is not dead. And we made a ton of new friends! Shout outs to Ron Flatter, Heidi Raines, Curtis (who I called Carlos) and that NFL Linebacker that I accidentally yelled at! Whoop!
4. Why They Banned Selfie Sticks
For two days, I barely saw a cell phone. And “selfies” seemed to be far less important than spending time with comrades. Everyone I saw was sipping on beverages, enjoying the weather and each other. It was… refreshing.
5. Celebrities Potty Too
We had ringside seats to the red carpet event. Our favorite interviews were with Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank and Travis Tritt. They were outgoing, fun and connected with us on a real level. It’s easy to idolize celebrities and make them into show ponies but at the end of the day, they potty just like we do… I was in the green room… I know!
6. Traffic is a Nightmare
Yep, we were stuck in traffic for hours! Go early. Just go early. If you happen to be in the car with Jaclyn, well, I’m sorry. I keed!
7. The Infield Isn’t for Me
Jac and I spent five minutes in the infield and it was five minutes too many. If that’s your scene, get on with your bad self! ha!
8. If you Roadtrip with Co-Workers, Be On Your Best Behavior
I’ve been on roadies with co-workers that made me want to crawl out of my skin. I have been on roadies with co-workers that made me want to drink from a portapotty to get it all over with quickly. I have been on roadies with co-workers that made me want to jump out of a moving airplane just to get away. This one was delightful – just delightful! If you are a big talker, curb your insatiable desire to chatter and fill the dead air. If you turn into a big diva – eat a snickers. If you smell – bring deodorant. If you dip, just hold off til you are out of the car. And for heaven sakes, have fun! You aren’t in the office. OH, and if you need to go back to the car three or even five times, don’t get your tinsel in a tangle. Everyone is just doing the best they can.
9. Bring Tylenol and Advil
10. Always Be on the Lookout
I was almost ran over by a horse, a golf-cart ambulance and the winning jockey making his way to the Parley all while taking photos and video. I need to watch out more instead of having my nose in a camera.
BONUS: There are Lots of Jobs Around the Derby that I Don’t Want
- The guy who cleans horse poop
- The guy who rakes the track while the horses are on the other side of the field
- The go-go dancers at Derby parties
- The guys who serves mint juleps in the infield
So, that’s it. If you are thinking about Derbying, I say do it but stay away from the infield – unless you are okay with lots of people being very close to you in the hot sun.