Little Derby brings April showers: Hundreds gather to catch ping-pong balls dropped from POT



By Luke Glaser

The Student Activities Board’s Little Kentucky Derby annually coincides with the coming of spring and the weather couldn’t have agreed more.

“It’s an awesome day, it’s beautiful out,” Ariel Blythe-Keske, a biology freshman, said.

Blythe-Keske, along with hundreds of other students, waited in the sunny, 70-degree weather under Patterson Office Tower for the ceremonial dropping of 3,000 ping-pong balls to officially kick off the Little Kentucky Derby.

The Little Kentucky Derby, an event that has been held for decades, is UK’s local way of celebrating the Kentucky Derby in Louisville.

“The Little Kentucky Derby Festival mirrors the Kentucky Derby Festival,” Sabrina Hounshell, SAB’s director of public relations, said. “It generates excitement on campus and is a traditional event.”

After several years’ hiatus, the Little Kentucky Derby was brought back to UK in 2006 to wild popularity, and has been officially rung in by thousands of ping-pong balls floating off of the top of POT.

The Ping Pong Ball Drop is one of the Little Kentucky Derby’s most popular events.

“It is an event that happens in the middle of campus, and it’s exciting to see thousands of ping-pong balls drop off of POT,” Hounshell said. “Students always enjoy it.”

Connie Duncan, the budget officer for the Honors Program, never misses the festivities.

“I’ve been here every year since ’06.” Duncan said. “I come for the action. When they (the ping pong balls) fall, people go nuts.”

Many of the ping-pong balls were marked with colored dots, which could be turned in for free prizes.

Students walked away with cups, foam fingers and t-shirts. A few students won complimentary tickets to the My Morning Jacket concert.

Amy Baker, a history freshman, was one of the owners of a colored ball.

“I’m really excited,” Baker said. “It’s a beautiful day and what’s more exciting than winning free stuff?”