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The 50 States Walk into a Bar…


I recently came across a satirical column about the 50 states walking into a bar together. The guy who wrote it breaks down the personality of each state and how they would act in this bar gathering.

His breakdown of the Kentucky character is as follows:

Kentucky stands nervously, deciding whether to join the Midwest clique or the Deep South clique, knowing wholeheartedly it would not be fully accepted by either. It chooses to stand next to North Carolina and Arkansas, quietly nodding and laughing on the periphery of the Deep South clique.”

It got me thinking though about Kentucky and where it stands in the SEC from an athletics standpoint. While I understand what the writer is trying to do by tying Kentucky, North Carolina and Arkansas together in this piece, let’s take North Carolina out of the equation as they are in the ACC (for now). Arkansas has a strong football history, something that allows it to fit in well with the SEC and the conference culture.

But, as we know the football history isn’t there for Kentucky. Yes, that can change and does seem like it’s changing with each passing recruiting season and the way Mark Stoops is trying to turn this thing around. But, where do we fit if the SEC walks into a bar together? Do we have a true conference rival when it comes to football?

Now, part of me feels wrong trying to answer this as I didn’t grow up in Kentucky but rather as a transplant. So, I’ll throw this out to the comment section, especially those who have spent the majority of their lives in the Commonwealth. What would it take, if anything, for Kentucky to shed this label of stuck between the Deep South and Midwest, especially from an athletics standpoint?

Article written by Bobby Reagan

One time representative of UK at SEC 3v3 basketball championships. Northern Yankee living the Kentucky dream. Follow me @uklefty22

22 Comments for The 50 States Walk into a Bar…

  1. Duuuuuude
    5:06 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    So a communist, a muslim, and an illegal alien walk into a bar. The bartender asks “what can I get you Mr. President”……

  2. Dumb Question
    5:37 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink


    • jeff j
      6:55 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

      huh duh me too…. In this regard , perceived politics & sports mix like oil & water. oh and Arkansas & N. C. dont border Ky. we are absolute north of em. that puts us on top of the south.

  3. jman3715
    5:38 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    Wow, Florida. Brutal.

    • jpgfile
      10:37 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

      Yeah, that one was a bit undeserved. Would have been better with some wisecrack about being unsure whether to hang out with NY & NJ (where it was born) or with the deep south, where it retired to drive a Buick at 35mph.

  4. Jon
    5:53 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    A couple of things: I think being part of the Sec is one of the only ways we are southern, but as time goes on conferences seem to have less and less to do with region I.e. Louisville in Atlantic Coast Conference. As to the deeper regional identity, I can speak for myself in saying I don’t consider myself southern or Midwestern, nor do I want to. Ky like texas is its own world and culture. I say celebrate who we are. And the record I think we are building a great football program.

    • Other Jon
      6:14 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

      I agree I honestly feel like more of a Kentuckian than an American.

  5. ATL CAT
    6:13 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    I always considered KY to be part of the south until I moved to Atlanta. These people are still arguing about the Civil War. I would say KY and Tenn are mostly rural but are not part of the deep south which is more racially divided and has a different feel about it.

  6. Blue
    6:22 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    I’ve had this discussion many times with folks both from Kentucky and other states, and as another commenter pointed out, we are our own entity. Kentucky has a very unique culture that is neither southern nor midwestern…But a little of both. Sure, a vast majority of the state is rural, and with that comes the hillbilly stereotypes we’ve all grown accustomed to combating, but for anyone that has grown up here, we know that is far from reality for the majority of Kentuckians.

    I’ve heard the argument that Missouri is more “southern” than Kentucky, and while parts of the Show-Me State fit that mold, other parts most definitely do not. Kentucky is similar in that way. I would equate Kentucky more to middle-South states like Virginia and North Carolina. Sure, if using the Civil War as context, they’re more “southern.” But, in a modern cultural context, we’re more akin to those states than Arkansas.

  7. Drago
    6:26 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    So are we debating whether or not Kentucky is southern? Wow! It shouldn’t be a debate– Kentucky is southern at its core.

  8. Stevem
    6:33 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    I’d rather be considered unique then be lumped in as southern or midwestern

  9. GRob
    6:43 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    My grandfather once asked me when I was a boy, “Son, Kentucky has two things to be grateful for. Do you know what they are?”

    I said, “Gee, Grandad. Horses and tobacco?”

    He said, “No. Arkansas and Mississippi”.

    True story. Grandad was a wise man.

  10. Annex Canada and the we are in the deep South. “Blame Canada!” 🙂
    I can say that because my wife is Canadian.

  11. Old Haint
    7:17 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    >>What would it take, if anything, for Kentucky to shed this label of stuck between the Deep South and Midwest, especially from an athletics standpoint?<<

    I don't see that as being necessary. It's part of what makes Kentucky
    what it is. It's a place at a crossroads. Don't go fixin' whut ain't
    broke, bruh.

  12. Gowcats
    9:17 pm August 6, 2015 Permalink

    New state (Commonwealth) slogan…”We are where you aren’t”? Not north, south, east, or west. I do think the identity is more Southern because of the rural, country aspect, but not based on Southern history.

  13. Wildcat13
    8:29 am August 7, 2015 Permalink

    When I checked out the link for “50 States Walk Into a Bar”, this is what they had for Kentucky!


    This makes much more sense! HA!

  14. theWilkman
    12:22 pm August 7, 2015 Permalink

    Kentucky has its own unique history and culture, separate from the Midwest and the South. While the South was originally populated by rich European lords basically repeating the feudal system with slaves, the Midwest was mostly settled by German, Dutch and other Protestant religions, with pockets of Catholicism along major waterways. Kentucky and the surrounding Appalachian region was predominantly settled by the Scottish and Irish, and they brought their clannish ways with them. It led to our development of small, tight-knit communities and strong sense of independence.

    Anyway, If you ever want to read a great book about how the different pockets of cutlure developed in our country, check out American Nations by Colin Woodard.

  15. ATG
    3:19 pm August 7, 2015 Permalink

    Debating historical connections as opposed to athletic connections is a bit different. Athletically speaking Kentucky has a strong connection and identity with Southeastern Conference. We were one of the original/founding members. Over that time athletically, we have become associated with our unrivaled basketball success. It’s only naturally that state’s take great pride in sports that their major state university have had sustained success in. Football wise we have not had the sustained success of the other original SEC members. I do not think that it is a debate though that our rivalries lie with the teams in the SEC. While we have not had sustained success against these schools in football, I do think of them as our rivals. Until recently the vast majority of SEC country did not have the local professional sports connection that those in the Midwest, Northeast, and West had. As result for many states in the SEC, including Kentucky, their major state university was their professional sport franchise. From that many SEC universities have a state religious like following for their sports programs.