Kentucky is on fire right now. Kentucky and its fine Kentuckians kicked all kinds of ass in 2013. Just like we do every year. We took a look back at 2013 and selected a few of our favorite stories of Kentucky kick assery. While there are thousands of great stories in 2013, we narrowed the list down to only 26. So here you go – 26 ways Kentucky and its Kentuckians kicked ass in 2013. Enjoy!
1. VICCO, KY: Vicco, Kentucky (population 335) Kicks Ass. This small town in Eastern Kentucky made national news in 2013 when it voted yes to ban discrimination against anyone based on sexual orientation or gender identity. That kicks all sorts of ass. Read all about it in the New York Times. Vicco continued its ass kickery when its openly gay mayor (and part-time hairdresser) Johnny Cummings appeared on the Colbert Report in August. Gawker claimed it to be "'perhaps the single best segment' to ever air on The Colbert Report." That kicks ass. Vicco again made national news in December when it agreed to pay their only police officer in Bitcoin. Gizmodo covered that story. This little Kentucky town with a population of 335 straight up crushed 2013.
2. JENNIFER LAWRENCE: Jennifer Lawrence kicks ass. Kick ass Kentuckian Jennifer Lawrence (from Louisville) straight up crushed 2013. She won an Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in 'Silver Lining Playbook' at the 2013 Oscars. She made the cover of Vogue. She was spotted wearing a 'Kentucky Kicks Ass' shirt. She killed it in the Hunger Games and American Hustle. She's also been a crusader against Hollywood's evil body-image issues. Like a true kick ass Kentuckian Jennifer Lawrence made the Commonwealth of Kentucky very proud in 2013. She's made the entire world proud in 2013.
3. LOUISVILLE CARDINALS: The Louisville Cardinals kicked ass for the Commonwealth in 2013 by winning the 2013 NCAA Mens Basketball Championships. Out of the 68 teams competing for the National Championship last March, the Louisville Cardinals came out on top. Rick Pitino and his boys brought the trophy back home to the Commonwealth. The University of Kentucky won it all in 2012, hopefully we'll have a Kentucky university winning it in 2014.
4. BOURBON: In Kentucky there are more barrels of bourbon than there are people. Kentucky bourbon and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail kicked so much ass in 2013. Like Jennifer Lawrence they've been making international headlines all year long.
The demand for Kentucky bourbon is so high that Makers Mark announced they were going to start watering down their bourbon. After every media outlet in the world covered the story, they decided reverse their decision to water down their bourbon. Every media outlet in the world covered that story, too.
One of the world's top whiskey critics came out and said "Scottish Malt is no match for Kentucky bourbon". We'll take it but it doesn't take a world renowned 'whiskey critic' to figure that out.
Then there's the case of the missing Pappy Van Winkle which rocked the world. Every media outlet in the world has covered the case of the missing Pappy. While Buffalo Trace lost $26,000 worth of Pappy, they garnered millions of dollars worth of free media.
Kentucky bourbon and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail put the epic Kentucky crush down on 2013. We're super lucky to have all of this awesomeness right here in our backyards.
5. KENTUCKY KICKS ASS: Kentucky is home to the strongest state slogan in the country: Kentucky Kicks Ass. In 2013 Governor Steve Beshear came out in support of the new slogan. NPR's covered that story. In 2013, Conan O'Brien showed his support for the new slogan. In 2013 Oscar Winner Jennifer Lawrence showed her support for the Commonwealth's new slogan. We also learned that General Electric uses the 'Kentucky Kicks Ass' message to recruit potential employees from other states. Even the BBC from across the pond came out to support Kentucky's new tag-line. It makes sense, no one can deny that Kentucky kicks a lot of ass. No one can deny it's a better slogan than 'Unbridled Spirit'.
6. DAMARIS PHILLIPS: In 2013 kick ass Kentuckian Damaris Phillips kicked ass for the Commonwealth by winning the Food Network Star and earning herself her own television show on the Food Network – 'Southern At Heart'. Like a true kick ass Kentuckian she chose to film her show right here in Kentucky.
7. ADAM LEFKOE: America's new favorite sports anchor is a kick ass Kentuckian by the name of Adam Lefkoe. Adam's a sports anchor for Louisville's WHAS11. Adam put the Kentucky crush down on 2013 with his viral '41 references to Seinfield' and his '46 references to classic rap lyrics' during his live reports. We love Adam's creativity – and all of the quirky press he got for Kentucky.
8. EDUARDO KOBRA 'LINCOLN' MURAL: Thanks to PRHBTN and Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra, downtown Lexington Kentucky got an epic 60 foot tall Abraham Lincoln (Kick Ass Kentuckian) mural. Our 60 foot tall 'Lincoln' sure beats the hell out of Illinois tourism's 'Mini Abe'. If you haven't seen it yet, you need to check it out.
9. HENTAI PORN: In 2013 Pornhub.com released a state-by-state breakdown of our nation's porn consumption. Turns out Kentucky and it's Kentuckians are into 'Hentai' porn, aka Japanese anime. We think that's hilarious. We think that kicks ass. Who would have ever thought that Kentuckians would be into Japanese anime porn?
10. KENTUCKY IS THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE: It was acknowledged and proven in 2013 that Kentucky is the center of the universe…at least close to being the center of the Universe. That's why companies like UPS, Cafe Press, Gilt, Amazon, Geek Squad and Zappos all have homes in the Bluegrass state.
11. SKYLER HORNBACK: In 2013 Kick ass Kentuckian Skyler Hornback of Sonora Kentucky set the 'Jeopardy!' Kids Week record. Skyler straight up put the Kentucky crush down on kids 'Jeopardy!' winning $66,600 – the third highest one-day total in the history of the program. He wagered $30k on final Jeopard and won! Won like a kick ass Kentuckian. BTW – Skyler knew everything there was to know about another kick ass Kentuckian by the name of Abraham Lincoln. Amazing.
12. LEXINGTON TATTOO PROJECT: Kick Ass Kentuckians Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova put the Kentucky crush down in 2013 with a little something called the 'Lexington Tattoo Project' where more than 200 Lexington residents had words of a love poem to Lexington inked on their sexy Kentucky bodies. An ode to the great city of Lexington. Check out CNN's article 'Linked By Ink: Tattoos Mark A City's Pride'. If you're a fan of tattoo projects you'll also like our little 'Kentucky Kicks Ass' tattoo project.
13. RON SWANSON MAN RULES: 'READ WENDELL BERRY': In 2013 we learned from a Men's Health article titled 'Ron Swanson's Man Rules' that one of Ron's rules is to 'Read Wendell Berry'. We're big fans of Mr. Wendell Berry, he's a kick ass Kentuckian. It was awesome to see him and his work included on Ron's list of 'Man Rules'.
"If the citizens of our nation all read Wendell Berry, it would be a lot more decent in its dealings with the rest of the planet." – Ron Swanson
14. "KENTUCKY HERO DOES 57 CANS OF WHIPPED CREAM NITROUS IN CLOSED STORE": There's a lot of strange headlines that come out of Kentucky. Did you ever see Buzzfeed's article '28 Reasons Why Kentucky Is The Weirdest State In The Country'? Lots of weird and awesome here in the Bluegrass state. One of our favorite weird Kentucky stories of 2013 was about this Mount Washington man who was arrested after he was found in the ceiling of a ValuMart. The previous night, Trevor crushed 57 cans of whipped cream, ate six steaks, a birthday cake, added in some shrimp, and washed it down with a bunch of beer. Gawker called this guy a hero. We love that.
15. CAGE THE ELEPHANT FLIPS OUT DAVID LETTERMAN: Leave it to some kick ass Kentuckians to flip out David Letterman. Bowling Green's Cage The Elephant performed on David Letterman in 2013. Apparently Dave is a fan. Kentuckians seem to have that effect on people.
16. PATRICK "OUTLAW PETE" FETTE: Kick ass Kentuckian Patrick "Outlaw Pete" Fette of Louisville's Derby City Whisker Club just took 1st place in English Style Mustache at the World Beard and Mustache Championships in Germany. His score was a perfect 10, which may unofficially designate him owner of the world's most perfect mustache. Another big win for Kentucky in 2013.
17. HUFFINGTON POST'S LOVE LETTER TO LEXINGTON: In September of 2013 the Huffington Post ran a beautiful love letter written to Lexington by kick ass Kentuckian Megan Smith in their 'Love Letters' series. With 20,813 Facebook likes and 4,317 Facebook shares it was one of the most liked and shared 'Love Letters' they've published. A great ode to the LEX that put the good ol' Kentucky crush down in 2013.
18. FRIED CHICKEN CANDLE: Who would have ever thought that 2013's most successful tourism marketing campaign would come in the form of a candle? A simple little candle. In November of 2013, we launched a line of candles called "Scents Of The Commonwealth" – candles that smell like Kentucky. There was a Derby candle, an Ale 8, and a fried chicken candle. Our first batch of candles got hot like Jennifer Lawrence and sold out in under a minute. They also received a ton of press. The candles were featured in the USA Today, TIME, Good Morning America (epic Beyonce and Anchor Man sandwich), Fox News, Fast Company, Perez Hilton, Los Angeles Times, etc. They put the Kentucky crush down earning a ton of free media for our great Commonwealth. The numbers aren't in but we've been told that Kentucky tourism was up 3000% in December due to these Kentucky scented candles. Thank you sweet baby fried chicken candles.
19. BRONIES VS. JUGGALOS EPIC STREET FIGHT: In 2013 Kentucky was home to the world's first epic street fight between two of the Internet's most hated sub cultures 'Bronies' and 'Juggalos'. The event flier ended up on the front page of Reddit which had a lot of people talking about how unique and awesome Kentucky is. Almost as good as the Rainbow Bus Club meet-ups that took place in Lexington last year.
20. Y'ALL SWEATSHIRT: Kentucky invented the term 'y'all' and in 2013 we invented the Ivy-Leagued-out Y'ALL sweatshirt. The South has been bowing down ever since.
21. CUP OF COMMONWEALTH: According to New York Mag's Grub Street, Kentucky is home to the "kindest coffee shop in the Universe." This December a little 600 square foot coffee shop in Lexington, KY called A Cup Of Commonwealth made national headlines for being awesome #AWESOMESAUCE in response to a series of neighborhood robberies. Instead of pulling a Justified and seeking a good old Kentucky ass whooping, A Cup Of Commonwealth took the high road and offered a 'Pay It Forward' aka free coffee to folks that shopped and supported the other local businesses that had been robbed. They also started a community giving Christmas tree for those in need of Christmas presents. These guys straight up crushed it for the Commonwealth in 2013.
22. KENTUCKY IS THE BEST ARMED STATE IN THE COUNTRY: According to the 'United States Of Awesome', Kentucky is the 'BEST ARMED' state in the country. More proof that Kentucky sure does kick ass.
23. JENNIFER LAWRENCE WEARING A 'KENTUCKY KICKS ASS' SHIRT: This made our year. It's awesome to see a celebrity as big as Jennifer Lawrence pimping out Kentucky. You don't see Clooney or Depp doing that.
24: ACOUSTIKATS: A University of Kentucky a cappella singing group called the acoUstiKats competed this year on NBC's The Sing Off. In the end they got robbed. While they didn't win it all, they still put the crush down for the Commonwealth. Check out one of their amazing performances below.
25. LOUISVILLE KY HIPSTER MECCA: Portlandia said that Portland was the 'place where young people go to retire'. In 2012 Portland State University came out with a study claiming that Louisville, KY is actually the 'place where young people go to retire', the best city in America at attracting and retaining young college educated people. Louisville was number one, Portland was number two, and Seattle was number three. That kicks ass. Louisville continues it's kick assery in 2013 by straight crushing it for the commonwealth. Thrillist named it #9 on it's list of 'America's Most Hipster Cities'. The December issue of National Geographic named Louisville one the '20 Must-See Places For 2014'. It was recently featured on USA Today's 'Heartland Hotspots'. Louisville has definitely been kicking ass for the Commonwealth in 2013.
Photo Via Louisville Eater
26. JOSH 'HUNGER GAMES' HUTCHERSON GETTING THE MOCKINGJAY SALUTE: Kick ass Kentuckian Josh "Hunger Games" Hutcherson attended the UK/Louisville game this past weekend. He got the Mockingjay Salute from the student section. So awesome. Check it out on Buzzfeed. BTW- how rad is it that the two biggest stars of the Hunger Games are kick ass Kentuckians?
Photos by Mark Cornelison