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Derby 101: Celebrity Sightings

Every year on the first Saturday of May, Hollywood descends upon the city of Louisville for the Kentucky Derby.  The limelight creates unusual interactions between Kentuckians and the people who fill tabloids and TV screens across the country.

If you’re a Derby regular, you probably have a celebrity story.  Maybe you were lucky enough to run into the New England Patriots’ Wes Welker in 2014.  He was having a great time (thanks to some PEDs) and wanted others to join him, so he threw out $100 bills.


I don’t know anybody who ran into Welker that day, but I did ask for people to share their Derby celebrity stories on Twitter and I got quite a few good ones.

Gabe Duverge ran into some people that I have never heard of, and took advantage of the opportunity.  “I asked Tom and Ariana of Vanderpump Rules if they would take a picture OF me alone. Not with them. They said no.”

Some interactions are much more casual. Adam Troutman said, “Drinking a beer with Joey Fatone made for a solid derby a few years back.”  @Figment82 said, “Exchanging pleasantries with Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince Of Bel Air.” Troy Stout said, “Talked betting results with Warren Moon standing at urinals in Millionaire’s Row men’s room.”


There are many that are much more ridiculous.

@Tony_It_Me: “Danced up on Janet Jackson, until J Dupri had their bodyguards kindly escort me away. Also, same night, harassed the guy that played Shooter McGavin until he called us assholes.”

@runjkm: “Sang a duet with the Naked Cowboy in the infield in 2001.”

@ IllRaiser: “Kris Humphries was in the tin roof bathroom with a bodyguard. I told him I went to high school with Rondo. He said “if Rondo were here he’d tell you to f*** off…but I’m working on him.” Smiled and shook my hand before washing it.”

There are a few Derby regulars that have provided fans with moments they’ll never forget.  Dr. J can often been seen strolling through the paddock, Bo Derek tickles the fancy of the older crowd and Kid Rock does Kid Rock things.  A few family members and I shared our stories, involving the latter two and Hugh Hefner, in Tuesday’s edition of Kentucky Roll Call.

These stories are great, but I know there are better ones out there. What’s YOUR Kentucky Derby Celebrity Story?

Read more in the Derby 101 Series: CocktailsNew Gates and Traffic PatternsWilliam Faulkner’s Timeless Kentucky Derby Account, The Apollo Curse


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

6 Comments for Derby 101: Celebrity Sightings

  1. 4everUKblue
    6:33 pm May 2, 2018 Permalink

    Excuse me young lady but it you’ve got 15 seconds to spare…

  2. Lexington_Mike
    6:50 pm May 2, 2018 Permalink

    Some friends of mine got big timed by Bob Costas.

  3. UKantstopus
    8:56 pm May 2, 2018 Permalink

    I just want to know who that chick is in the pic with rick.. wow

  4. Wade
    10:18 pm May 2, 2018 Permalink

    Ricks got that look!

  5. CatFanInLou
    12:51 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

    In the early nineties, I was at a Derby Eve show by the legendary Louisville boogie-blues band Bodeco. Those shows got wild, with people standing on tables and beer bottles flying across the room. At one point I saw this tiny blonde woman in an evening gown leading an enormous tuxedo’ed man to the stage. He nearly knocked me over, but as I looked up I saw that it was noted blues aficionado John Goodman.

  6. catdaddyd
    3:40 pm May 3, 2018 Permalink

    Is that Matt Jones standing next to Wes Welker?