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Nerlens Noel to attend Hillbilly Days

Noel_Nerlens_TV Head 12-13
Screen shot 2013-04-16 at 1.33.51 PM

In the grand tradition of so many UK players before him, Nerlens Noel will attend Hillbilly Days in Pikeville, Kentucky later this week.

What is it about this three-day festival that lures Kentucky’s superstars from Lexington to the hills of Eastern Kentucky? Maybe it’s the Cornhole Tournament (think of all the practice they got during the Big Blue Madness campout), the Quilt Show, or the promise of mischief in the Moonshine Shack. Or, the chance to connect with UK fans outside of the basketball court. For Nerlens, it’s probably the latter, as well as an opportunity to raise awareness for the Shriners Hospital for Children, the event’s charity.


What is Hillbilly Days anyway? Since 1977, Pike County has held the annual event to raise money for the Shriner’s Hospital in Lexington, with the Shriners decking themselves and their tiny little cars in hillbilly garb to entertain the crowd. Since then, it’s grown into one of the largest festivals in the state, bringing over 100,000 people to town each year to appreciate what the festival calls “our unique Appalachian heritage and culture.”


Nerlens is hardly the first Wildcat to make the trek to Pike County. Back in KSR’s olden days, Ramel Bradley, Joe Crawford, and Lukasz Orbzut all went to the festival with Matt as part of the KSR Barnstorming Tour, and last year, Terrence Jones capped off his transformation into a fan favorite by throwing up three goggles while riding the mechanical bull.

Now, Nerlens is still rehabbing from his ACL surgery, so no mechanical bulls for him, but can we expect an equally surreal photo op?

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

44 Comments for Nerlens Noel to attend Hillbilly Days

  1. WalkersGoggles
    3:23 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    There’s something creepy about this. Reminds me of that classic horror movie “The Wicker Man”.(the original of course, not the Nick Cage remake)

    I hope he isn’t going to be a sacrifice!

  2. LOL
    3:34 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    Great cause, but wow. This is something a lot of us Kentuckians simply have to accept…that we’re all perceived this way. Good for Pike County I guess for embracing it, having fun with it, and supporting a good cause.

  3. wow
    3:47 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    Wow. Just, wow…

  4. Billy Ray
    4:01 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    If that don’t beat all. Rupp would not be pleased.

  5. AntiHillbilly
    4:02 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    How exactly are Hillbilly Days any different than a normal day in Pikeville?

  6. SexnNursinHomes
    4:03 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    “I hurd that Narlans Noll is gunna be thar, I’m gunna git his autiegraff”

  7. Hillbilly Jim
    4:07 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    I am glad all UK players will go.

    Hillbilly trash is Kentucky . You have to be one to really appreciate it

    An inbred, toothless redneck with one shoe describes this state perfectly

    If Nerlens rides that mechanical bull, it will show all those NBA scouts that he is ready for the draft

    I hope they built a few more outhouses since last year

  8. BigHillbilly
    4:08 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    6-you should go back to school

  9. ZombieLibrarian
    4:12 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    Not sure if TJ on the bull or Ramel holding a double-barreled shotgun is a more awesome picture. Too close to call.

  10. shannon
    4:15 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    Yee Ha

  11. Pikevilliansays...
    4:16 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    Gotta love those bashing Pikeville and this great fundraising event..
    Fact is, you couldn’t afford to live there.

  12. minton
    4:20 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    I bet most of the people bashing Pikeville have never been there. There’s a LOT of money in Pikeville. A lot of people you see in straw hats and overalls in Hillbilly day are bankers, doctors, attorneys and regular middle class people. They only dress that way for the festival but ignorant outsiders think it’s how they always dress.

  13. SexnNursinHomes
    4:23 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    12- So it’s okay to make fun of the hillbilly sterotype if you are a doctor, lawyer, or banker dressed in negative stereotypical clothing.

    But we commenters are the bad guys……

  14. YourBoyBlue
    4:26 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    I’m from Pikeville and I loathe Hillbilly Days. There are many bright, talented, well educated, and successful people who live in Pike County but this festival’s name alone does nothing strengthen the perception most outsiders have of the Appalachian region. The festival is for a great cause, but I cannot and will not embrace anything that does nothing but help tarnish the name of the area I call home.

  15. YourBoyBlue
    4:26 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    13. My point exactly

  16. CBS programming
    4:30 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    I made a fortune off these people in the 60’s back when people were allowed to laugh at each other. Now, they’re the only group I can ridicule without facing a lawsuit. Leave ’em alone. I need the revenue from upcoming reality TV shows. They’re all I have left.

  17. King Kelly Coleman
    4:34 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    Not that many years ago (70’s) Pike County had more millionaires per capita than other place in the world!….(look it up)

  18. fdotfloss
    4:38 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    It never occurred to me that ‘hillbilly’ had a negative connotation. I though it just meant that you’re from the hills. Only closed-minded people would see being from a certain region as bad or shameful. If someone is a good doctor/lawyer/etc. why would it matter if they wore that garb EVERY day? I’d rather have a good doctor in overalls than a bad one in an expensive suit.

  19. STEVE!
    4:40 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    Is this where Terrence was autographing babies?

  20. Boogie
    4:50 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    Ohhh I see, you people are too good to support a great cause an go along with the fun. Good to know you people are part of the big blue nation. Only 14 year old girls worry about how other people perceive them. Have some fun with it…damn.

  21. Aha
    4:56 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    #17 so you’re saying Pikeville is full of toothless, redneck, straw hat wearing hillbillies …..who are wealthy? Lol, I fail to see how having $$ makes one worthy of respect if they are still, well, a hick.

  22. Bobby Perry
    5:05 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    What about me? I’m also in the photo with Ramel, Joe, and Woo.

  23. King Kelly Coleman
    5:06 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    @ 21…nahh the ones with money got their teeth fixed.

  24. King Kelly Coleman
    5:07 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    Also, @ 21….how does not having any teeth, and being a straw hat wearing hillbilly make one not worthy of respect?

  25. Pike
    5:15 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    The Shriners Hospitals for Children appreciate this event and put the money generated by it to very good use. Why do people who have never attended think they can judge better than an organization dedicated to helping children? Do they wish it would go away?

  26. theSkinny81
    6:07 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    The troll is strong with this one….

  27. jimc
    6:13 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    You sorry SOB that have never been to Pikeville dont have a clue how the people live there. We work hard play hard and love hard. You flat landers are jealous of our way of life. You know when you cross us a A## Kicking is going. We support UK harder than any of you have ever thought of.

  28. Jeru
    6:18 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    This sounds like fun, but 100k people visitors to a town of 7k seems like it would be a traffic nightmare.

  29. Plain Truth
    6:39 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    Well I have been through Pikeville and what do you have, a town of around 5 or 6 thousand people,just like all the other’s in this state, ok I known you completely moved a mountain one the largest earth projects under taken in this nation, alright you have a regional tri-state medical center with over 270 Doctors, of course you have a college with a medical school and the 3rd largest banking center in the state. But I am sure that can be said for any small town in Kentucky, or all the surrounding rural states or can it.

  30. Truth
    7:06 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    Pike is one BIG-ass county (area wise). Easy to get lost there (like at Elkhorn St. Pk)

  31. DanielBoone
    7:28 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve never been to Hillbilly Days in Pikeville but I’ve always thought Pikeville was a very nice small town, one of the nicest in the state of Kentucky in my opinion.. I used to drive thru the area a lot for work, when I went back last year to attend a funeral I was surprised how much the city had changed in the past 20 years. As an uncle of a child that has received a lot of help from the Shriner Hospital in Lexington, it’s a great facility with great people and fundraising for the hospital is a great cause.

  32. Here it is
    7:43 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    #21 – the product of hillbilly genetics and a used condom!

  33. [email protected]#khead
    7:47 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    that’s all i got to say about that

  34. mudcreekmark
    8:03 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    Hillbilly days has to be the best place in the world to sell your autograph if you’re a UK player getting ready to leave school.

  35. John Ellis
    8:38 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    Now you bring them boys back whole, you hear?

  36. minton
    8:59 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    The people only dress like that 1 time a year; Hillbilly Days Festival. It’s all for fun, but the outsiders think that is the norm. Joke’s on them.

  37. UK Freshmen
    11:58 pm April 16, 2013 Permalink

    Good lord, if this gets out we are dead.

  38. Dentist
    7:16 am April 17, 2013 Permalink

    Millionaires with no teeth???? Yeah, right. Pikeville and Eastrn Ky have HillBilly Daze 24/7/365. It’s called poverty,lack of education and no jobs.
    Welcome to the Commonwealths biggest Trailer Park!!

  39. US Census FACT
    9:12 am April 17, 2013 Permalink

    #12 FACT: The median income for a household in the city was $22,026, and the median income for a family was $36,792. Males had a median income of $42,298 versus $19,306 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,426. About 21.2% of families and 25.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.7% of those under age 18 and 15.8% of those age 65 or over.

    Pikeville is poor as dirt.

  40. co.transplant
    10:40 am April 17, 2013 Permalink

    I am glad I grew up in Pikeville because I tell myself everyday I am fortunate I never have to live there again. It pushed me to better myself unlike everyone else that lives there. Friends of Coal? Really? It’s not the 1940’s anymore. Broaden your horizons and quit cutting down mountains for profit. It’s embarresing that it is the only “skill” you know to do. Your grandchildren would really like to see those one day, I promise you that.
    I saw Cowgill play in Denver last night. Super cold, but that kid is going to be in the majors for a long time. All the luck in the world to you!

  41. PhilD43
    10:55 am April 17, 2013 Permalink

    Look…..I grew up in Eastern KY and now live in Central KY. I have experience life in Eastern KY for 25 years and 17 years in Central KY. Hillbilly Days is for the children. Pikeville has a well respected college and hospital as well as some of the friendliest people on Earth. The citizens there support the event for the CAUSE…they do not dress like that any other time of the year. The “crazy” HILLBILLYS are not even from KY!!! All of my family who grew up in Pike County has either a bachelors or maters degree including cousins. These include doctors, pharmacists, bankers, office managers, teachers, state police officers, and so forth. My brother is a USAF Lt. Colonel with a bachelors and 2 masters degrees. He works hand in hand with a USAF 3 star General. So to stereotype Pike County natives as hillbillies is an atrocity. I could go to any town in KY and find poverty. No matter where I live Pike County will always be home.

  42. Coal & Meth
    11:13 am April 17, 2013 Permalink

    My Dad is from Pikeville. He left in 1936 and has never returned. He always told us kids “there ain’t nothing there but misery and ignorance.”
    Having visiting there numerous times in the past decade I concur.
    They must keep all those PHDs in hiding. All I saw was misery and poverty.

  43. Pikevilleproud
    2:07 pm April 17, 2013 Permalink

    Lots of idiots on here. But we already knew that.

  44. Greg
    3:55 pm April 17, 2013 Permalink

    Some of the people sterotyping on here probably whine and complain when they are sterotyped. It is easy to sterotype behind a keyboard.

    Fact is, Pikeville is one of the nicest small towns in the state of Kentucky. I’ve traveled all over our wonderful state and there is poverty everywehere in this state and country. As far as being wealthy, not sure what that has to do with it, but I would say there is not a town in the state of Kentucky similiar in size that can touch the wealth in Pikeville. The people that say the town in full of poverty and uneducated dont have a clue what they are talking about.