You donâ€™t have to live across the street to see the rowdiness of the Derby crowd. On Montana Avenue, about a mile away from Churchill Downs, Billy Duckett has observed just as much, if not more, hoopla than those at the track.
â€œIâ€™d say about 5 a.m. people start arriving (to park on Montana),â€ he said. â€œI saw a guy completely nude; drunk as can be. That was after the Derby coming back. He was complaining he lost all his money and he figured, I lost all my money, I might as well lose all my clothes.â€
Since 1993, Duckett has lived in his home on Montana, where heâ€™s seen and heard it all on Derby day. He rarely attends Louisvilleâ€™s largest event, though he worked the track one year with Brantley Security.
Most of the time, on the first Saturday in May, he and his neighbors fire up the grill and throw a cookout in Duckettâ€™s front yard. This way, they save on the cost of track admission and the gambling thatâ€™s likely to ensue. But, staying home for Derby isnâ€™t all that bad. After all thereâ€™s free entertainment showing on the street, which luckily continues throughout the day, since Duckett and his friends wonâ€™t be driving anywhere until the Derby has concluded.
â€œMake sure you save up vacation days up for Oaks and Derby because you ainâ€™t going nowhere,â€ said Duckett. â€œWhen I had my job â€¦ and I would drive to work on Oaks it would take me like three hours just to get from here to, say UofL. Thatâ€™s how bad traffic is â€¦ and itâ€™s chaos.â€
Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune