What do skydiving into the desert, seeing the sunset over the Grand Canyon, driving a stock racecar at 165 miles per hour, making a debut on the silver screen, running a marathon, and backpacking through Europe all have in common? They are all examples of experiences waiting to happen on thousands of bucket lists –or things people hope to experience before “kicking the bucket.”  Frequently, you’ll find that many Americans have listed a trip to the Kentucky Derby among the special experiences they hope to savor in the course of a lifetime.   Just ask a few members of the DERBY NATION.  

“I am a horse lover and have always wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby,” says DERBY NATION fan Debbie Griffin. “Which is why I put it on my bucket list years ago. Finally, my day came when I attended the 132nd ‘Run for the Roses.”

Two weeks prior to the race, Debbie went to Thunder Over Louisville and took a tour of Churchill Downs to get a feel for where she wanted to stand. Turns out, her favorite spot was in the paddock so she could see the people and each horse before each race on the card. 

DERBY NATION fans have the Kentucky Derby on their bucket lists for various reasons.  Laura Craven of Charlotte, N.C., is still waiting for her chance to stand under the Twin Spires but says, “I look forward to the people watching, the sights, the overall scenery at the track, and honestly, I have no real expectations other than what I know from the NBC broadcast.”

Her friend Caitlyn Miller, also from Charlotte, chimes in with a humble laugh, “The hats! I can’t wait to see all the beautiful hats!”

The greatest attribute of DERBY NATION is the diversity of events and entertainment around the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby. The scene encompasses celebrity sightings, wagering competitions among friends, and perhaps, the experience of tasting your very first Mint Julep.

If you’re planning to attend the Derby this year and scratch that important item off of your list, I share your excitement because television – even in high definition – can hardly do the event justice. 

If you will be again experiencing the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” outside of Louisville, Ky., take a moment to log into DERBY NATION and share what you will be doing to celebrate on Derby Day with other DERBY NATION fans.  You can also send me a note at DerbyNation@kyderby.com.  We’re looking for fan stories and want to hear from you.

Until then, enjoy the countdown to Derby and being part of the DERBY NATION!