Tickets to Calipari bottle signing offered only online


Maker’s Mark dedicated a limited edition bottle to UK men’s basketball coach John Calipari to raise money for the UK Symphony Orchestra at Singletary Center on Monday, March 1, 2010. Photo by Scott Hannigan

By David Baker

Dragging yourself out of bed on a Friday morning for an 8 a.m. class may not provide much motivation, but dragging yourself out of bed to get head basketball coach John Calipari’s autograph may provide more.

Those wishing to purchase the new Maker’s Mark bottle with the face of Calipari on it can do so statewide Friday, and those hoping to get their bottle signed can do so at Keeneland on Friday, April 9 — if they manage to secure a ticket from

Instead of giving out tickets through a lottery, Keeneland will work through Ticketmaster, and 1,200 tickets will be available.

Calipari will begin signing the limited-edition bottle, which is the second in a three-year series to create an endowment for the UK Symphony Orchestra’s outreach program, at 8 a.m. that Friday.

“We think it’s tremendous that there is such interest in the Cats and the coach,” said Jay Blanton, director of marketing and communications at Keeneland. “ … we are thrilled and honored to be part of a program that, over the years, has generated millions of dollars for such causes as cancer research and music education across the Commonwealth.”

Tickets for the bottle signing go on sale this Saturday at 10 a.m. on Ticketmaster.

Keeneland officials decided on the new ticket distribution method with the goal to maximize the limited amount of time Calipari has and to also control traffic, safety and security issues, according to a Keeneland news release on March 24.

“We believe it is an efficient, effective, fair and safe way to accommodate the incredible interest in this event, particularly given the understandable limits on the coach’s time during this busy period,” Blanton said. “Safety is our top priority in everything that we do at Keeneland — whether on the track or off of it. We’ve been doing these signings for several years now, and we work diligently to ensure both a fair and effective process as well as a safe one.”

According to the news release, each person is limited to one ticket, and tickets will be free with a $1 handling fee that will be donated to Galilean Children’s Home in Liberty, Ky.

Those with tickets to the signing should be in line no later than 7 a.m., and they will be allowed to camp out overnight under the grandstand starting Thursday night, according to the news release.

Twenty-four thousand copies of the bottle will be available to buy, and for more information on the bottle signing, contact Blanton at [email protected].