Kentucky Takes TC by Storm

A trip to the Bluegrass this past weekend has Tony in a sentimental mood.

Shout Out to “My Old Kentucky Home”

Let me be honest! I am a state of Kentucky fan, plain and simple. From the rolling hills of the beautiful Bluegrass to the steep mountains of Appalachia, the scenery is breathtaking.

Events-wise, that Hillbilly Days parade every year is awesome (given the long and snowy winter, I can’t wait for this ultimate sign of spring) and the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs is like none other, anywhere, anytime!

Here in a few weeks I will be making my annual trip to Inez to visit the Martin County Kiwanis club. I seem to always pick the first week of the NCAA tournament for my visit so we can jaw about how the Cats will do in March Madness.

Keith Morehouse says the Cats, led by Patrick and Coach G, are a lock to get into the NCAA’s, but their seeding is in doubt. Wouldn’t it be something if my Nittany Lions play UK in the opening round?

This past Saturday, I made a day of travel thru the Bluegrass with pit stops at the Smokey Valley Restaurant in Olive Hill and the Elliott County Lions gymnasium.

At Smokey Valley, Owner Yuanita Flannery made me feel right at home and wow was that Coconut Cream pie out of this world!

While feasting on the most tender roast beef I have ever tasted at Smokey Valley, I had the privilege of meeting the Wurtland Middle School academic team. The squad was coming back from a grueling meet at West Carter High where they placed a respectable third in the Governor's Cup regionals. Several in the group earned their way to the state finals in April.

I will enclosed a picture of the academic team with this blog after dinner.

From there, I made the trip on route 7 into Sandy Hook to see the Elliott County Lions take on a group of city slickers from Louisville’s Ballard High.

The packed gym reminded me of my days in Philly when Judge (my alma mater) and North (hated arch rival) used to play the so called “Holy Wars”. The fans were rowdy, but fair, and the action on the hardwood was fast and furious.

Ballard was faster, but the Lions offset that speed with their superior quickness. The Faulkner brothers seemed to dive for and come up with every loss ball and the Knipp brothers cleaned the boards and out-muscled the kids from Ballard.

At halftime I spoke with Congressman Rocky Adkins (“Tony, we will get things done”, Rock assured me) and spent some time with the ladies at the hot dog concession. Bill Robinson is an old time farmer who reminded me that we had 9 ground fogs in August. “Tony the folklore says we will have 9 ground coverings of snow for those 9 fogs”, Bill told me.

By my count we have gone thru 7 snowfalls this winter, so we have 2 more to brave before springtime arrives for good!

As the Lions pulled away to a 15 point victory, I marveled at how the community has rallied around their beloved Lions and wondered out loud if a modern day Hoosiers was in store in 3 weeks as the Sweet 16 with Elliott County heads to Rupp.

Thanks for adopting me to “My Old Kentucky Home”.
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