Supporters gather at EKU in anticipation of Trump’s visit

Teresa Ball, a McCurry county native, waits in line for President Donald Trump’s rally on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, outside Alumni Coliseum on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus in Richmond, Kentucky. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Sarah Ladd

RICHMOND— Crowds wearing red “MAGA” hats and paraphernalia populated the parking lot in front of Alumni Coliseum on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus as early as Friday night in anticipation of President Donald Trump’s visit to Kentucky on Saturday.

The line included a popular supporter, Barry Lockard, who was dressed as Elvis Presley and drew a lot of attention from his fellow supporters. He said he began impersonating Elvis two years ago through his work at a nursing home.

“I just thought it’d be great today to show a lot of patriotism,” he said, pointing out the American flags and eagles on his outfit.

One Trump supporter, Kathy Schroeder, arrived at 5 a.m. and made it to the first group at the front of the line. She is from Nicholasville and came to Richmond just to see the president.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him,” she said. “We support him 100 percent. We think America is going in the right direction.”

Schroeder said she wished people gave Trump a chance and “looked at the facts.” She said she feels America is doing better under the current administration and she said the president’s visit to campaign for 6th Congressional District Republican candidate Andy Barr in his race against Amy McGrath will make a “big difference.”

Schroeder said she thinks Barr is right for Kentucky.

“He holds town halls all over the state. He listens to what the people are saying— what is important to them and why,” she said. “And he goes back and he votes… he votes for the people.”

Schroeder said she feels Barr is a representative for both Democrats and Republicans.

“He does his conscience.”

Another Trump supporter, Stan Herren, said he and his wife Gretchen came into town Friday night from their residence in Bowling Green and stayed until around 11:30, coming back around 5 a.m. and being one of the first people in line to see the president.

He said he hopes the president’s visit can help Barr beat McGrath in the race for the 6th congressional district representative. He said the ads that the McGrath campaign have issued are false.

“He [Barr] is pro-military. He’s pro-veteran… to build a campaign on a lie is not good,”he said.

He said the experience of seeing the president will be “once in a lifetime.” 

Melissa Cook came in from Georgetown with her family and said they will play cards and meet “interesting people” while waiting for the president’s arrival. She said they arrived at 7 a.m. and feels that the president’s arrival will inspire people to go to the polls and be active in the election. She said that she thinks the recent controversy surrounding Kavanaugh has “motivated a lot of people.”

Cook, who said she is a registered Democrat but is voting Republican, said she wants Barr in Congress to help with Trump’s agenda, including building a wall and tax reform.

The entire parking lot in front of Alumni Coliseum has been roped off in anticipation of the crowds that will continue to gather throughout the day. The rally begins at 7 p.m.