Happy National Kentucky Day from Kernel editors


A foal runs with her mother on Lori Cooley’s farm on June 26, 2018, in Harrison County, Kentucky. Art director Arden Barnes took this photo as part of her summer 2018 internship in Boyd Station. 

Kernel Staff

It’s a national holiday, y’all— National Kentucky Day, which celebrates Kentucky as the 15th state to join the United States and the first state west of the Appalachian Mountains. 

Earlier this morning, the Courier Journal posted what some of its newsroom’s Kentuckians love the most about the Bluegrass State. We borrowed this idea and asked our editors some questions about our old Kentucky home— although for some editors, who moved here just for college, it’s a new home. 

Below are some of those answers. After reading, don’t forget to do something to celebrate our commonwealth today.

What do you love most about Kentucky?

Sarah Ladd, opinions editor: The people. There’s no charm like Kentucky charm. 

Sydney Momeyer, assistant news editor: The scenery. Kentucky in the fall is the prettiest thing. 

Erika Bonner, sports editor: As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate and love more and more things about Kentucky. It’s honestly really hard for me to pick one, but I would say the scenery. Especially in central Kentucky where most of the horse farms are. It’s really amazing. 

Chris Leach, sports features editor: The scenery. The green rolling hills with horse farms in every direction is a pretty and unique sight. 

For Kentucky natives, what do you love about your hometown? 

McKenna Horsley, managing editor: My home address is in Raceland, Kentucky, a small town in Greenup County. It was named as such because a man named Jack O. Keene ran a pretty successful horseracing track in the town during the 1920s with the same name. It was nicknamed the “Million Dollar Oval.” Keene later developed a track that you may know called Keeneland. Raceland’s clubhouse is standing today off of Route 23.

Sarah Ladd, opinions editor: I’m from Bardwell, Kentucky, a farming community in western Kentucky. I absolutely love the farms— the hundreds of acres of corn, tobacco, beans. The smells of hay and the sounds of combine tractors. The farmers share equipment with each other with only word-of-mouth contracts. There’s something about that lifestyle that will always be superior to me compared with concrete and skyscrapers.

Arden Barnes, art director: I’m from Cynthiana, Kentucky, a tiny rural town halfway between Cincinnati and Lexington. About 15 minutes from the city limits, actually in the next county over, is a covered bridge. It’s an easy place to waste time because there’s no cell service and easy access to the Licking River below. As a photographer, the bridge is easily a “one-and-done” photo location, but I continue to go back at least once every season. 

Erika Bonner, sports editor: I’m from Ashland, Kentucky, a small town in the eastern part of the state. When I grew up, I didn’t really like being from a small town, but now I really appreciate my roots. My favorite thing about Ashland is the sense of community, and everyone’s love for the Ashland Tomcats (my high school alma mater). The excitement everyone has for Friday night lights, the way people in the city support the sports teams— it’s really cool. It feels like something from a movie. 

For those not from Kentucky, what Kentucky characteristic surprised you the most? 

Lauryn Haas, assistant lifestyle editor: What surprised me the most about Kentucky was the incorporation of southern charm into the city of Lexington. Although it feels like an urban area, the horse statues throughout the city, the sprawling farms along the highway lined with white fences and the beloved traditions like Keeneland root the city in the South. (Hometown: Toledo, Ohio)

Sydney Momeyer, assistant news editor: What surprised me the most was the fact that everyone wears shoes. (Hometown: Erie, Pennsylvania; moved to Lexington, Kentucky, when she was 13)

Chris Leach, sports features editor: The thing that’s surprised me the most is how proud people are of where they’re from. In Arizona, no one talks about what county or part of the state they are from, but that’s first thing people ask about each other in Kentucky. I think it’s neat. (Hometown: Vail, Arizona, near Tucson)

Michael Clubb, assistant photo editor: What surprised me the most was how much blue everyone wears. Growing up as a UK fan in Knoxville, Tennessee, I always felt out of place. There I was, surrounded by a sea of orange while I was wearing my blue UK basketball jacket cheering on UK all by myself. When I first moved to Lexington, it felt weird not constantly seeing that obnoxious color orange on every single person walking around. However, after living here for a few months, I finally feel at home. I am surrounded by people who have the same passion and dedication as I do toward UK and the whole state of Kentucky. I am no longer one lone voice but I am one voice in a crowd of thousands. (Hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee) 

Has “My Old Kentucky Home” ever made you cry? 

Sarah Ladd, opinions editor: I choke up every time! Kentucky is more than a state. It’s a family. “My Old Kentucky Home” really houses all the emotions that accompany our history and lifestyle. 

Michael Clubb, assistant photo editor: Every single time. Growing up and going to UK games with my dad, I would always watch him take his hat off during “My Old Kentucky Home” like it was the national anthem. To this day, I also remove my hat because to me, that song is as important as the national anthem. No matter what part of Kentucky you’re from, or what your background is, whenever you hear “My Old Kentucky Home,” you immediately put all your differences aside with anyone else and join as one to sing one song for your old Kentucky home. 

Bailey Vandiver, editor-in-chief: Should I be ashamed to say that “My Old Kentucky Home” makes me cry? Maybe. Am I ashamed? No. It especially gets me when a whole crowd of people at a UK sporting event sing along as the marching band plays it. After UK lost to Georgia Tech in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl, I overheard a Georgia Tech fan trash talking our beloved state song. That fan’s comment upset me more than anything that happened on the field that day.