Senior center participant and Lisa Cobb.

ElderServe has been serving the Louisville community for more than 50 years. Their overall goal is to empower older adults to live independently with dignity. We spoke with ElderServe’s Marketing Manager Drew Hight to learn more about the functions and impact the nonprofit has made.


“Our programs and services help seniors stay independent, overcome social isolation, protect them and promote their wellness,” said Hight. “From an adult day health center and in-home care to crime victim services and a senior center, our services are designed to help older adults and their families navigate aging with dignity and grace.”

The staff at ElderServe care deeply about the people they serve and are passionate about their work. “Older adults are one of the most vulnerable populations in our society,” Hight explained. “Even though this segment of the population has ballooned with the Baby Boomers aging, funding for seniors continues to be cut. ElderServe gives a voice to the voiceless, advocating for older adults every single day and empowering them to live independently with dignity.”

WHO Benefits

ElderServe helps more than 2,000 adults aged 60 and over in Jefferson County every year. In order to do that, they have a dedicated group of staff members and volunteers. “We rely heavily on more than 500 volunteers,” said Hight. “We truly wouldn’t be able to do what we do without our amazing volunteers. Our funding comes from a variety of sources including donations, fundraisers, corporations, government grants and foundations. We are proud to say that more than 90 percent of it goes directly to programs.”


ElderServe is currently gearing up for Give For Good Louisville, and they’re hoping to break new records. “We’re really excited for Give for Good Louisville,” said Hight. “We’ve participated since its inception a few years ago. Last year, we raised nearly $8,000 and hope to raise more this year. We hope you join us by donating during Give for Good Louisville on Sept. 13.”

Latest Happenings

Tristian Lafollette and Marea Crosby.

The nonprofit also hosts several fundraising events each year, including Chocolate Dreams – a silent auction with wine, bourbon and chocolate tastings – and the Champion for the Aging Awards – a luncheon where ElderServe presents an award to an individual who shows outstanding commitment to their work in improving the lives of older adults.

“While those are our two largest fundraisers, we have other fun initiatives throughout the year,” Hight affirmed. “One is called ‘Elf to an Elder,’ which provides gifts and household necessities for isolated seniors who might not otherwise receive anything for the holidays. If you would like to donate, please visit our website as the holidays approach.”

Want to help?

While ElderServe has their own fundraising events, donations and support from the public are always appreciated. Donations of time and treasure help the most. “With monetary donations, we can efficiently deploy resources where they are most needed,” explained Hight. “But many of our programs – particularly those that battle social isolation – rely on amazing volunteers. For example, we have seniors on a waiting list for a Friendly Visitor. As a TeleCare volunteer, all you need is a phone and some time. Periodically, we also need assistance with events and administrative projects. To learn more, please contact Sarah Irvin, volunteer services manager, at 502.736.3847.” VT


215 W. Breckinridge St.



Nonprofit News

V-Soft Consulting announces fifth annual Charity Golf Scramble

V-Soft Consulting will host its fifth annual charity golf scramble on Sept. 10 at Valhalla Golf Club. The event starts at 11:30 a.m. Shotgun is at 1:15 p.m.

The event, titled The V-Soft Cares Annual Charity Golf Scramble, aims to benefit a different charity each year. In recent years, the scramble has focused on raising funds for cancer research as a way to honor founder Purna Veer’s late mother.

The 2018 event will benefit Little Pink Houses of Hope. This organization provides free, week-long vacations for breast cancer patients and their families.

“We are honored to be partnering with Little Pink Houses of Hope for our 2018 V-Soft Cares Golf Scramble. It will be a day full of fun, as well as a great way to raise funds for a great cause,”  V-Soft President Purna Veer said.

The charity is particularly special to V-Soft as one of their own employees has participated in the family retreats. Melissa Barnett, a proposal manager, suggested the charity after a 2017 retreat in South Carolina.

“To have V-Soft choose and support Little Pink is amazing! I am so very proud to be part of the V-Soft family and so proud of the V-Soft family for supporting such an amazing organization. This organization changes lives. These retreats bring couples closer, give hope to worried children and provide a time of peace for cancer patients.”

V-Soft is currently accepting sponsorships and donations for the event. If businesses or individuals are interested in playing or sponsoring, visit VSoftConsulting.com/Golf2018.

Our Lady of Peace to Host Free Seminars to Address Topics Affecting Children and Teens

The school year is underway and Our Lady of Peace wants to ensure local students and parents are prepared for issues that may arise, such as bullying, substance abuse or difficult childhood behaviors, among other topics. Our Lady of Peace will hold two upcoming free seminars in Louisville to address the transition to middle school and how to manage difficult childhood behaviors at home or school. The seminars will explain how these issues impact children, offering support and education to help address them in the home and school.

The first seminar will address managing difficult childhood behaviors at home and school, and will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 19 at Hazelwood Elementary School, located at 1325 Bluegrass Ave. in Louisville. The workshop will be led by Jordan Hall, licensed behavior analyst with Our Lady of Peace, who will help participants learn about strategies to avoid incidents of challenging behaviors in home and school settings. Topics to be discussed include possible motives for the challenging behaviors, effective interventions, preventative guidelines, setting expectations and encouraging positive behaviors.

The second seminar will offer strategies on how children can make a smooth transition to middle school, discussing topics such as bullying, peer relationships, social media and substance abuse. The workshop will provide information about warning signs, triggers, finding motivation and encouraging positive change in adolescents. The workshop will be held on from 6 to 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at Blue Lick Elementary School, located at 9801 Blue Lick Road in Louisville. The speaker for the seminar is David Houvenagle, licensed clinical social worker with Our Lady of Peace.

For more information on the seminars, call 502.479.4191, or email KellyGillooly@kentuckyonehealth.org.

Second Cat Café To Open in Louisville

A second non-profit cat café called Lucky Cat Café & Lounge will open in the Upper Highlands (Belknap Neighborhood) on Sept. 5. Located at 2230 Dundee Road, just off Bardstown Road, Lucky Cat has two partner agencies: Metro Animal Services and Shamrock Pet Foundation, which will transport homeless cats currently in shelters and give them a chance to find permanent homes faster and more efficiently at the cat café. The cats will live 24/7 at Lucky Cat Café until they are adopted.

Located in a 1920s home with tall ceilings, hardwood floors and fireplaces in every room, Lucky Cat Café will provide a peaceful home environment for 15 to 20 cats who will live there. A handful of cats are already there, getting adjusted and settling in. All cats are microchipped, spayed/neutered, have updated shots and are ready to adopt.

Visitors may also hang out and pet cats without adopting one. Because kittens don’t need any help getting adopted, Lucky Cat plans to focus more on helping adult and older cats, plus cats that have been in shelters or foster homes a long time, to find their purrfect new homes.

Visitors can spend more time in a cat café, a more relaxed environment than shelters, getting to know a cat’s personality before deciding to adopt.

Lucky Cat Café & Lounge will feature Sunergos Coffee, a local award-winning roastery; vegan baked goods from Flora Kitchenette; plus soft drinks, lemonade, chips and other snacks, as well as t-shirts and cat-themed merchandise. Visitors sign a waiver and pay a small cover fee to enter the Cat Lounge for one hour, which is standard among all cat cafés in the US. Lucky Cat Café also plans to have special events such as yoga with cats, book buddies (to help struggling readers), purr therapy for seniors, story time for youngsters and guest speakers.

Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, 12 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday closed. The cost to enter the Cat Lounge is $10/hour on weekdays, $12/hour on weekends. A 20 percent discount for college students, military/veterans and adults 62 and older. Adoption fees vary. Children must be 10 years old to enter the Cat Lounge; ages 10 to 14 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Younger children may attend special events listed on the events calendar. Visit Lucky Cat online at luckycatcafe.org or on Facebook at facebook.com/luckycatcafe502.

2016 Write Stuff Contest two-dimensional art winner by Lucinda Quinn.

Calling all teens! Submissions due Sept. 28 for The Write Stuff Teen Writing and Visual Arts Contest

All middle and high schools students who are residents of Kentucky and Southern Indiana are encouraged to submit their experiences and reflections about living with cancer for The Write Stuff Teen Writing and Visual Arts Contest from Gilda’s Club Louisville, 633 Baxter Ave. Teens may submit original essays, poetry, two-dimensional artwork or videos.

Entries are due by midnight (EST) on Sept. 28, and can be about the teen’s own cancer journey or that of a family member or friend. All are welcome to submit, including those students who have previously entered the contest.

Cash prizes will be awarded: $500 for first place, $250 for second and $125 for third. In addition, entries may also be published or displayed in an effort to help educate students, teachers, counselors and others about the teen perspective on living with cancer.

All entries must be accompanied by an entry form, available online at www.gildasclublouisville.org/writestuff. Submissions will be scored by a panel of judges, and an awards ceremony will be held at Gilda’s Club in January.

For more info, please go to gildasclublouisville.org/writestuff or contact Mary Caroline Gray at marycaroline@gildasclublouisville.org.

At Home with Maria Pollard

By Janice Carter Levitch

Photos by Kathryn Harrington

From the early age of 14, Maria Pollard daydreamed about America. She saw a quote in the daily paper that read, “You have to visit America to realize life’s opportunities.” She cut out the words and hung them on her bedroom wall. That was the beginning of her desire to discover the world outside of her hometown in southern Sweden.

Everything American intrigued her, but it wasn’t until she was 22 that she finally had the opportunity to visit. From the moment she arrived at a friend’s home in Florida, it was apparent that her interest in the United States was much more than an infatuation. In fact, she met the love of her life, Bennie Pollard, just eight months after arriving. Six months later, they were married. That was 31 years ago.

Maria believes in the power of positivity, which led her to create Great Happens (greathappensinc.com), an online company committed to inspirational products such as t-shirts, phone covers, coffee cups and hats.  Ten percent of all sales are donated to the customer’s choices of three different charities. Maria also is a published author and has another one in the works. Maria recently invited us into her home the share her five favorite things.


“My father was in charge of a transportation company, and I remember he would get some really nice gifts around Christmas time every year,” Maria said. “As a kid, I remember this was one of those gifts, and he really enjoyed this sculpture. I brought it back from Sweden and keep it in my home as a reminder of him.”


“This map is from my second grade class,” Maria recounted. “It’s of southern Sweden, where I’m from. I even wrote my name on the back of it. My teacher made us remember all the names of everything on this map and gave us a tough test on it. I keep it in the original plastic. I have the memory of having to remember everything about it and the anguish I went through to pass the test.”


“This is a family photograph of our trip to London, England, in March of 1971,” Maria recalled. “My mother was always so chic and my father was carrying a camera bag everywhere to capture those special moments we had with his film camera. We surprised my sister, who was living in London at the time, and a street photographer actually took this picture. Both of my parents have since passed and it makes this photo even more sentimental.”


This coffee cup with Maria’s name on it is very special to her. She received it when she was about 1 year old and as a kid, she was always fascinated with it. “It’s a petite-size cup and I’ve always loved using it,” Maria said.


The Tiffany ring has understated elegance and such a simplicity that Maria fell in love with it as soon as she saw it. “Simple always wins, and I’m very much attached to it,” Maria said with a smile. “The fact that it feels circa-1970 attracted me to it. It has a little bit of that style in it. And it spoke to me. There is something about it that makes me feel great and happy when I’m wearing it.” VT

Community Corner

Sacred Heart School for the Arts to host “Step into the Spotlight” Talent Competition for Ages 6-18

Step Into the Spotlight is the first annual open-stage competition for talent from across Kentuckiana to contend for cash prizes and exposure to opportunities to further share their gifts. Youth aged 6-18 may audition, receiving two minutes to showcase their special talents.

All auditions will take place at Sacred Heart School for the Arts, Angela Hall – Building 17 (first floor – recital hall) from Aug. 31 through Sept. 2. They will provide a piano and a CD player for use. Participants should bring any other items needed. A non-refundable registration fee of $10 is due at the time of your audition. Please arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled audition time, allowing time for setup if needed. Only the performer will be allowed in the room during auditions.

The Final Showcase will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 29 at The Ursuline Arts Center, 3113 Lexington Road. The top 16 acts chosen will be notified via email by Sept. 9. Participants chosen cannot change their act. Final show participants will be given five minutes on stage to perform their full act. Winners in each age group will be chosen by a panel of judges. All audience members will have the opportunity to vote for the People’s Choice Award. Cash prizes are awarded per act, not per participant. For more information, call 502.897.1816. To sign up for an audition time, please visit SHSA Step Into the Spotlight Auditions at shslou.org in the Community Engagement section of the SHSA website.

Prizes Include:

Ages 6-12: One winner receives $250

Ages 13-18: One winner receives $250

People’s Choice Winner: $100

Grand Prize Winner: $350

All 16 finalists receive special recognition.

Boutique Buzz

Messie Shop to Host End of Season Pop-up Shop

Messie Shop is partnering with A. St. Clair and Storyteller to put together the best end of season pop-up sale you never knew you needed. Enjoy a complimentary drink while shopping the best items these three boutiques have to offer with up to 70 percent off retail items while supplies last.

Photo by Greg Mosier Photography.

Messie Shop

1811 Bardstown Road

11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Sept. 6

11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sept. 7


Awakenings Boutique Opens Up Shop in Middletown

Awakenings Boutique is now open among other beloved retailers in Middletown. The 1,400-square-foot shop now boasts The Beauty Bar, an adorable, hands-on demo area for wig-styling services, viewing of training/styling videos, wig consultations and more. They also have expanded space for sip-and-shop events.

Photo by Christine Mueller Photography.

The store has a total of four wig consultation rooms available – all of which can be made private – and now an even larger selection of human hair wigs. Awakenings encourages and recommends making an appointment for a consultation so their experts have sufficient time to assist every client.

Awakenings Boutique Wigs, Healing, Recovery, Gifts

12121 Shelbyville Road, Suite 101
(between Two Chicks and Highland Fish Market)

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Saturday, Sunday by appointment

awakenshop.com  |  502.384.6780

The Fashion Post Anniversary Sale

The Fashion Post will kick off their fall season and celebrate their 59th anniversary with a week-long storewide 20 percent off anniversary sale beginning Sept. 8 at the store in the Glenview Pointe Shopping Center, 2420 Lime Kiln Lane. 

Not to be confused with a clearance sale, this event includes The Fashion Post’s entire inventory of new fall merchandise and special order items.

This is the only event of the year when customers who are difficult to fit, have special requests or want a specific item that might not be available at clearance time can take advantage of a terrific savings opportunity.

The sale runs through Sept. 15. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

New Blood

Actors Theatre’s beloved ‘Dracula’ takes flight with an all-new cast

By Laura Ross

Get ready to grab your garlic, a wooden stake and some holy water and head toward Actors Theatre Louisville (ATL) for the annual fright fest of Fifth Third Bank’s “Dracula.” The production hits the stage Sept. 7 and runs through the witching hour on Oct. 31. This year, an entirely new cast will present one of Louisville’s most beloved Halloween traditions.

Based on Bram Stoker’s Gothic tale of the immortal Transylvanian count and his unexpectedly feisty human prey, ATL’s adaptation is directed by veteran director and fight master Drew Fracher. Fracher has worked on “Dracula” at ATL since the late 1980s in different incarnations, primarily as fight director. He transitioned to directing and is well known at ATL for his work with “A Tuna Christmas” and “A Christmas Carol.”

“This is quite a different production than my Christmas shows,” laughed Fracher. “But, we’re having a ball.  When I came on as director, I revisited the choreography and had to rethink direction. Audiences will see a bunch of new stuff.”

Fracher points to his collaboration with “Dracula’s” fight director, Jake Guinn. “I’ve known Jake’s father for years through our passion for fight direction,” said Fracher. “Jake has been sword fighting since he was four years old and has now grown into a terrific martial artist and certified fight master like his dad. I watched him grow up, and to now be working together as his – pardon the pun – non-blood uncle is an awesome experience.”

“Dracula” has thrilled and chilled audiences for more than 20 years at ATL. Keeping the scare fresh for audiences who return every year is a challenge Fracher enjoys. “The current version we’re doing is based on Bill McNulty’s adaptation of the story, which in turn, is based on one of the earliest adaptations of the novel from the early 20th century,” said Fracher. “This year, we’re making it much more physical. All the fights are reimagined and very exciting. We’ve spent months working on choreographing new fight scenes. The focus is on the action, and we chose new actors with serious stage combatant skills who can pull that off.”

Dracula is played by Santino Craven, a Chicago-based actor who is taking the stage at ATL for the first time. Fracher knew instantly that Craven should don the coveted count’s cloak. “We had conducted auditions in New York and thought we had our Dracula,” said Fracher. “But, we returned to Louisville and Santino came to the local auditions and he really knocked it out of the park. He has a great presence and comes off as extremely dangerous.”

Craven, said Fracher, has played Dracula previously and has a very physical presence. “He spent six years in the Navy and did three tours in the Middle East, so he’s definitely made for combat,” said Fracher.

The only cast member to return from previous performances is local favorite Neill Robertson, who returns as the notorious Renfield, a role for which he won the 2018 Arts-Louisville/Broadway World Best Actor in a Play Award.

“You just have to run into this role and throw yourself into it,” said Robertson. “Renfield is a crazy person and you can’t tiptoe around that. He’s horribly abused by Dracula, but he uses comedy to balance this loud, fast, funny style with a very damaged, terrified person underneath. It requires me to use all the tools I have as an actor. It’s liberating to play a role where you can just scream and flail about.”

Robertson compares the play’s new fight scenes to an MMA round. “This show is very fresh because of all the new people working on the show, and the fight choreography is very athletic,” he said. “You have to make sure you’re in good shape and prepared for being thrown around, falling off things, crawling up walls constantly. You need to drink your water, do your exercises and eat your Wheaties.”

ATL veteran Grant Goodman has the role of Van Helsing, and Rin Allen joins the cast as Lucy. Allen, who is making her Actors Theatre debut, is from New York City. Her character of Lucy is reimagined to be a much stronger, modern woman. “There’s always a little apprehension involved when you’re pushing the envelope on something with an established history and viewpoint,” said Allen. “Many of the women in the story are being portrayed as stronger, more powerful figures than in past productions. Lucy is involved quite heavily in the planning and physical fight against Dracula, which I think is a refreshing and fun change to the story.”

In addition to the show, Actors Theatre wants the community’s blood, too. The venue will host its annual Dracula Blood Drive in partnership with Fifth Third Bank and the American Red Cross  from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 5 at Fifth Third Bank’s location in Fourth Street Live. In addition to giving blood, donors will enjoy snacks, giveaways and visits from cast members, including the count himself.

“Since Dracula is always thirsting for blood, we thought it was a perfect way to give back to the community by helping to increase the blood supply for patients,” said Mike Ash, regional president of Fifth Third Bank Kentucky. “Since its inception, our collection efforts are credited with saving over 1,300 lives, and this is the second largest blood drive in Louisville each year.”

Other community events, which can be found on the ATL website, will happen through October, including a costume collection for children in partnership with the Americana World Community Center. Actors Theatre will collect Halloween costumes for immigrant, refugee, and low-income children Sept. 7 through Oct. 19.

ATL will also provide an accessible theater-going experience with an audio-described performance on Sept. 16 and an open-captioned performance on Oct. 6.

Why is Dracula such a draw every year? Good question, said Fracher. “It’s a classic tale in our collective consciousness,” he said. “It’s simply a good, old-fashioned, good-versus-evil story that people love. So many recent treatments of Dracula have morphed him into a sexy, brooding hottie, but that doesn’t fly for me. At the core, Dracula is a pretty awful, evil person. He’s dangerous and terrible and obsessed with power.

“For me, Dracula is about an addiction,” added Fracher. “He’s turning people on to something that might feel good in the moment and at first blush, but ultimately, it’s not a good thing. It’s not a happy life. It’s desperate and addictive.”

But, at the end of the day, it’s not necessarily always about teaching a lesson through a performance. “This is simply pure, unadulterated scary entertainment,” said Fracher. “There’s nothing better than the sheer fun of seeing people get the hell scared out of them. That makes me happy.” VT

Dracula Blood Drive

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 5

Fifth Third Bank’s location in Fourth Street Live!

RSVP at redcrossblood.org. Enter Sponsor Code: dracula

Fifth Third Bank’s Dracula

Sept. 7 – Oct. 31

Actors Theatre of Louisville

316 West Main St.

Tickets begin at $35. Many shows sell out, so purchase early.



*Special ticket offers for groups of 10 or more are available by calling 502.585.1210.

Letter From the Editor

Give for Good Louisville, hosted by Community Foundation of Louisville, is Sept. 13. Among the many nonprofits participating is Family Scholar House, which has worked to assist single-parent students for more than two decades. But the organization has done so much more. 

Family Scholar House (FSH) has built five Louisville campuses to provide safe, secure housing. In fact, their newest one just opened as part of Riverport Landings on Cane Run Road.

An impressive 431 college degrees have been earned by FSH participants, and – thus far – 40 graduates of the program have purchased their own homes, with 100 percent of FSH participants exiting the program to stable housing.

Though most of the children of participants are very young, 39 participants’ kids are also pursuing post-secondary educational opportunities. Eighty-one percent of student-parents that have graduated their residential program have exited to stable employment, 65 percent of FSH participants have continued their post-secondary education after exiting the program and FSH participants have a 92-percent completion rate for college credit hours attempted. You can read more about FSH in this issue of The Voice-Tribune and learn about Give for Good Louisville – a  24-hour period during which the community is asked to give to one of the 500+ nonprofits participating at – giveforgoodlouisville.org.

Speaking of goodness in our community…that’s one of the best ways I know how to describe John Asher, who died suddenly and unexpectedly earlier this week. The iconic face of Churchill Downs – and former columnist for The Voice-Tribune – seemingly never met a stranger and made it a mission to make people feel like they matter. He also was incredibly adept at sharing lighthearted Facebook posts and Tweets – especially about music – that made you stop and smile or quietly nod your head in agreement.

Several hours before John died, he shared the following quote from the late Sen. John McCain on social media: “Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined by your existence alone.” While I don’t envision John Asher as a fighter, I always felt like he was a harbinger of happiness and an advocate for a meaningful cause: to share joy and goodness with others.

How lucky we were to have him in our world.

Time to Tailgate


Dave Scull, Joe Kelly and Melissa Kelly.

Locals who love football season share their enthusiasm

By Mariah Kline

Photos by Andrea Hutchinson

Autumn means the return of football season and the countless fans who are eager to support their favorite teams. The tradition of tailgating adds even more excitement to the season, and for some people, the ritual plays a massive role.  To get a closer look at the experience, we spoke with a group of veteran tailgaters to talk about the food, fun and friendship of it all.

Joe Kelly, who works for ESPN Radio, is a former University of Louisville student and a passionate Cards fan who has been tailgating for 14 years. This season, he and his friends are collaborating with FDKY BBQ, 93.9 The Ville, TheCrunchZone.com and Red Rage Tailgate to host five epic pre-game parties at the Tailgating Caboose. The food is free from FDKY and beer is too, thanks to Great Flood Brewing. Kelly and the team just ask that anyone who stops by to consider dropping some money into the bucket for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“If you don’t have anything to eat or a grill to use, come by and we’ll feed you,” he affirmed.

Kelly revels in the fun with his wife of nine years, Melissa Kelly, who also loves the experience.

“I love sports, so any time there’s anything sports-related going on where we can get together with people, it’s an awesome experience,” she said. “We’ve even been to hockey games and tailgated for those as well.”

But, the Kellys maintain, tailgating is about much more than sports.

“It’s a real family atmosphere,” Melissa explained. “A lot of times there’s anxiety around the game, and you need to chill out, have some barbecue and meet some people. We’ve made a lot of friends, we see old friends and we enjoy good food.”

Joe and Melissa’s friends Tom and Elisa Farmer are also avid tailgaters and UofL fans. Additionally, Tom is president of the Louisville Coopers, the independent supporter organization for Louisville City FC, which makes him a pro at organizing fan events.

“It’s not about one sport versus another,” said Tom. “It’s really about getting a lot of people together and enjoying it as much as possible. Joe and I are looking forward to bringing all of the various tailgating elements together, and we should have a lot of fun this year.”

Dave Scull has tailgated since the age of eight and played as a walk-on for UofL’s football team in 2002. He especially enjoys the sense of camaraderie and unity.

“I love the culture of it,” he said. “There’s nothing like it. We wait for this all year, and we’ve been going stir crazy all summer just waiting for the first football game.”

For those who have little to no tailgating experience, everyone we spoke with agreed that self awareness and hydration are key to having a good time. Drinking plenty of water, wearing sunscreen and pacing yourself can mean the difference between a great day and a complete disaster.

With the right food (particularly barbecue) and friends (old or new), it’s undeniable that tailgating is an activity any fan can enjoy.

“Come one, come all,” Scull said. “Everybody’s welcome. It’s an egalitarian society out there. Come out and have a beer with us.” VT   

Joe Kelly, Jason Ence, Dave Scull, Tom Farmer, Macy Lethco, Elisa Farmer and Melissa Kelly (kneeling in front).


Collision Course Crew Brings Tailgating to a New Level

By Jennifer McNelly

Photos courtesy of Collision Course Crew

It is hard to think of football without the time-honored tradition of tailgating. Food. Fans. 

DJ John “JRock” Nettles

Drinks. All celebrated from the back of a pick-up truck outside of a stadium.

For friends Bill Jones, Kevin Weatherholt, Bryan Byars, Craig Pennington, Justice Jones and Garrett Hoover, tailgating has become a whole new ball game.

When Collision Course Crew started two years ago, the guys had set out to change the face of tailgating for not just their friends and family but for the entire football community in the Louisville area.

“We started tailgating out of the back of our pick-up truck,” says Bill, “and we thought, ‘Hey, let’s do something bigger. Let’s get our own trailer.’”

Collision Course Crew’s 20 feet by 8 feet, totally renovated trailer proves that tailgating is not just hanging out in trucks and passing time before the start of a game.  Oh no. For these guys and girls, tailgating is where the fun truly happens. And it has become a way of life.

“The Red Rage Tailgate (which has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsCenter’ three times) really started it all and is known for the cool University of Louisville memorabilia they have. We are more of a mobile sports bar. That’s our niche,” explains Bryan.

“But we aren’t Red Rage,” inserts Bill. “We are Collision Course Crew. We want to be the next big thing.”

Heading into their second season, Collision Course is ready to debut on Sept. 8 with a number of upgrades. With a state-of-the-art sound system, deejay software, fully-equipped bar and bowling alley bar top, multiple big screen television sets and more, the crew is excited and prepped to cheer on their University of Louisville Cards on the corner of Crittenden Drive by Cardinal Café.

“Most of our gear has been donated,” says Craig. “It’s been great and we are really thankful.”

Last year, Collision Course’s trip to Indianapolis brought out a record high of 250 fans. “This year, we don’t want to do only home games,” explains Craig. “We are planning to travel to a number of away games, too. Indy was awesome! We want to see more of that.”

Kevin expresses his hopes to really put Louisville and Collision Course Crew on the map as one of the “tailgating musts.” 

Bill Jones and Gary Redbird.

“If you go to a place like (Utah State University) or Alabama, tailgating parties like this are a normal thing. I want UofL football to be ‘big boy football.’ I want people to drive hundreds of miles to come tailgating.”

So, what if red and black aren’t exactly your team’s colors? No worries. There is room for you, too, at Collision Course Crew.

“We have Kentucky fans that come hang out with us too,” says Garrett. “We don’t care who you cheer for. If you come, you are going to be welcome no matter what. You are part of the family.”

Young, old, male or female, all are welcome and encouraged to experience what tailgating is all about at Collision Course Crew. You don’t even need tickets to the game. In fact, the crew prides themselves on creating a truely fun football environment without any of the negative stereotypes of tailgating.

“We don’t discriminate at all and I really love that,” says Sallie, Craig’s fiancé. “We aren’t just a bunch of drunk frat boys either. We really have a range of ages that come. It’s a real family environment.

“You can get the whole atmosphere and not have to go to the game,” she adds.

Once an idea among six friends, now a staple in the University of Louisville tailgating scene, Collision Course Crew hopes to blaze the trail for other tailgaters.

“This is just the start for us,” explains Bill. “We want to inspire people to start their own things, too. Hopefully, this turns into a parking lot full of other trailers, all of us together having a good time, making new friends and enjoying the fact that we all have at least one thing in common – we love football.” VT

Sports Look

Ready to Roll

Predictions for UofL Football this season

By Jeff Nunn

Photos courtesy of University of Louisville Athletics

On Sept. 1 in Orlando, Florida, the Louisville Cardinals will begin their 100th football season as they take on the Alabama Crimson Tide. It’s never ideal to start your season off playing the defending national champions. To make matters worse, Louisville will attempt to pull off the upset while trying to replace Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson, replacing seven starters on defense – including two of their top tacklers from last season – and implementing a new defense, as they have their third defensive coordinator in three years.

This team definitely has challenges in front of them, yet they look at them as opportunities. There is absolutely no question this year’s version of the Cardinals are ready to get out on the field and prove to everyone that their youth and inexperience will not prevent them from having a great season. Their attitude is positive and it’s contagious.

Jonathan Greenard

Louisville is coming off one of the most prolific offensive seasons ever, so naturally you should expect a drop-off. Well, maybe not as much as you would think. The scoring may not decrease but you won’t see as many flashy highlight plays. Led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Jawon Pass, Louisville should continue to be one of the top offenses in the country. Jawon is a dual-threat quarterback who is best described as a player who isn’t necessarily a running quarterback but can easily get you 10 yards if needed.

Jawon will have an embarrassment of riches to throw the ball to. Louisville has one of the deepest and most talented groups of receivers in the country. The “Big Three” receivers include Jaylen Smith, who flirted with entering the NFL draft before deciding to return for his senior year; sophomore Dez Fitzpatrick, who is primed for a monster year after setting the Louisville freshman touchdown record with nine last season; and junior Seth Dawkins, who is as steady as they come and a big play threat on every snap.

Since about 2010, Louisville consistently ranked in the top 25 in total defense, but last season they finished a disappointing 62nd, giving up a whopping 388.1 yards per game. The defense is again the biggest question and the key to the season. New defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder – who coached in the NFL as well as at Notre Dame, Georgia, Auburn and other schools – looks to get the Cards defense back to a reputable level.

Jawon Pass prepares to throw at the 2017 Red -White Spring Game.

The wise-guys in Las Vegas have set the win total for Louisville at 6.5. My opinion is that they are weighing the loss of Lamar Jackson a bit too heavily. The Cards will most likely lose to Alabama and Clemson and beat Indiana State and Western Kentucky. The remaining eight games are all going to be close battles. Louisville is somewhere between a six-win team and a 10-win team. It all comes down to the defense. I feel confident that Louisville wins eight games but wouldn’t be shocked if they finish at 9-3. VT

Who Will Hand Off to Benny Snell?

Another SEC football season, another huddle full of questions for Big Blue Nation.

By Steve Kaufman

Photos courtesy of University of Kentucky Athletics

So here we go again. University of Kentucky football, the Rodney Dangerfield of the SEC, don’t get no respect.

It’s true that Alabama would laugh at the Wildcats’ recent “accomplishments” – two straight seven-win seasons and two straight bowl appearances. For long-suffering Kentucky football, it’s all part of longer-range expectations.

Tavin Richardson.

Terry Wilson.

But leading where? In the sixth season of the Mark Stoops Era, should Big Blue Nation expect one small step? Or a giant leap? Or a step backwards?

On the one hand, the Cats are loaded with experience – on the big offensive line and in the defensive backfield. They have the SEC’s leading rusher returning. They have some enticing returnees, like the triple-threat Lynn Bowden; the All-American candidate Josh Allen; and the torpedo of energy Kash Daniel, who looks like he’ll play a big role on the linebacking crew.

Also back is senior safety Mike Edwards, who received so many accolades after his junior year.

Wideout Dorian Baker is back after missing last year with an injury. He’s a senior now and should be more focused and reliable than the promising young colt of a couple of years ago. The dream corner team of Derek Baity and Chris Westry is back, too. They didn’t miss last season – not with injuries, anyhow – but neither did they live up to the hype they were seemingly poised to earn. In fact, with free safety Darius West, it’s a full package of seniors back there.

Tight end C.J. Conrad is being talked about in the all-SEC – even All-American – conversation. And his replacement last year, Justin Rigg, looks like he could start for a lot of the conference’s teams. But both have a history of injuries. Healthy? We all know what a good tight end brings to the offense. Not healthy? A great big question mark in UK’s game plan.

There’s also a promising crew of wide receivers coming back – Tavin Richardson, Josh Ali, Isaiah Epps and Clevan Thomas, as well as Bowden. And a ton of good-looking freshmen receivers. But freshmen, as we know, equal questions.

There are other questions, as well. Kentucky will have to replace Austin MacGinnis, perhaps the greatest placekicker in UK history. Freshman Chance Poore and senior Miles Butler are competing for the kicking tee. Also a whole new Australian rugby-style punter. Matt Panten didn’t hurt the team at all last year, but he’s gone. Say “g’day, mate” to Max Duffy.

Senior linebacker Jordan Jones – the breakout star of 2016 turned problem child of 2017 – is back. But which Jones will show up? Hopefully not the one who imploded against Louisville last November. Plus, speaking of the LBs, they’re unexpectedly going to have to find replacements for Denzil Ware (transferred) and Josh Paschal (ill).

More questions? Oh, yeah, the one everyone in BBN is talking about except the coaches: Who will hand the ball off to Benny Snell? The QB job has to be much more than that, of course, and three completely inexperienced candidates are vying for the job. The winner will carve out the offense on his own terms.

In one corner, JC-transfer Terry Wilson, a Stephen Johnson-like dual threat but a stronger passer – and perhaps a better runner, as well. In the other corner, Gunnar Hoak, a classic drop-back pocket QB. (In the third corner is Danny Clark, the Massillon, Ohio, lefty whose recruitment sent tremors through BBN just two years ago.)

However any of them can or cannot run, taking the next step up will depend on which of the three throws the best, the deepest, the most accurately and the most dependably, something that was sorely missed the last two seasons.

Still, those were bowl-game seasons. Parting the Red Sea and reaching the Promised Land might well depend on which quarterback is handed the scrolls. VT

Culture Shock

How Indiana University Football can achieve more

By Jim Biery

Photos courtesy of Indiana University Athletics

What is culture shock? By definition, it is the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life or set of attitudes.

I would say this applies to Indiana football, especially the part about an unfamiliar culture and set of attitudes. You see, the culture and attitude of the team desperately need to change. For far too long, the way of life for this team is to play sub-500 win/loss football.

In the last five seasons, the Hoosiers have a combined record of 26-35. They haven’t had a winning season since 2007. It also doesn’t help that they lost to That Team Up North (Purdue) to fail and qualify for a bowl game.

Yes, I believe a culture shock would be a really, really good thing for the program and for its loyal fan base.

In order to create a change of culture, you need to start at the very core of the team. Each and every player must improve individually so the whole team becomes better. This is possible. Actually, the blueprint has already been shown to be effective; Purdue proved that last year. With basically the same returning players, they were able to not only make a bowl, but they won it.

The key is to make each player believe they are better than they are each and every day. The person in charge of this is Head Football Coach Tom Allen. He will start his second full season this year and understands that in order to complete his contractual obligations until 2022, the winning must start now.

But it won’t be easy. This year’s schedule will be difficult to say the least. Then again, any time you play in the Big 10, it will always be hard. The Hoosiers play Ohio State and Michigan on the road. They last beat the Buckeyes in 1988. Home games include games against Michigan State, Penn State and the season ending annual battle for the Old Oaken Bucket.

The Spartans are perennial contenders for the Big 10 title, and Penn State is 20-1 all time against IU. The rest of the schedule offers hope, however. Virginia, Ball State, Iowa, Maryland, Florida International University and Rutgers are all winnable games. Three of last year’s games came down to a touchdown or less of winning, including an overtime loss to the Wolverines.

The change of culture may have already begun. Wide receiver Nick Westbrook returns from a torn ACL last year and hopes to return to the form that made him an All-Big 10 Honorable Mention in 2016. He recently was added to the Fred Biletnikoff Watch List for the best WR in the nation.

IU also will have the services of Arizona transfer Brandon Dawkins to compete for the quarterback position. Recruiting got a big boost by landing QB Michael Penix Jr., who chose Indiana over schools such as Tennessee, Arizona, Oregon and even Florida State.

My prediction for this year’s team and what might kickstart the culture change would be a six-win season and possibly seven, that is if they can reclaim the Old Oaken Bucket from That Team Up North. VT    

Tailgating for Good

Kelsey Petrino Scott and Joey Wagner.

The Petrino Family Foundation’s profound fundraising efforts continue

By Baylee Pendleton

Photos by Kathryn Harrington

As summer draws to a close and cooler weather approaches, so does college football season. Our city shines in the fall, and the Petrino Family Foundation uses this time to facilitate its charitable work in a special way.

We caught up with executive director Kelsey Petrino Scott and board member Joey Wagner of the Petrino Family Foundation to discuss the organization’s history, how it has evolved over time and its exciting new initiatives.

The foundation was created in 2014 by University of Louisville head football coach Bobby Petrino and his family. The organization began its charitable work with a commitment to Norton Children’s Hospital to fund a new trauma room, now named the Petrino Family Foundation Trauma Room. By the end of 2018, the foundation will have donated $850,000 to the children’s hospital. Since its inception, the foundation has added several new initiatives, including a popular and festive fundraising event, the Petrino Family Foundation Tailgate Party.

Celebrating five years this season, the tailgate parties open three hours before every UofL home game and are held inside the Trager Center (the Cardinal football team’s indoor practice facility). Petrino Scott loves the atmosphere created at the events. “Our tailgaters get to tailgate on an exact replica of the Cardinal Football playing field,” she said. “We have a rotating menu of locally-catered food, and each guest gets two drinks on the house (in addition to water and sodas being free). We have exclusive performances by the marching band and national championship-winning (Ladybirds), pregame on-field access opportunities, bouncy houses and new this year, a corn-hole tournament.”

Tailgaters can choose from several sponsorship levels ranging from $100 to $30,000. Wagner commented on the 2017 event: “Last year was the most successful year of our tailgates. Proceeds from the tailgate helped benefit Norton Children’s Hospital, the Petrino Family Foundation Scholarship, the Student Marching Band, the UofL Spirit Team, Family Scholar House, Blessings in a Backpack, 2018 Louisville Flood Relief, Jamon Brown Foundation, the Coalition for the Homeless, Fund for the Arts, Kids Cancer Alliance and the Parklands.” By the end of 2018, the foundation will have donated $222,250 to these organizations and others.

The Petrino Family Foundation gives back to the community in dozens of ways, many of which involve partnership with UofL. The foundation’s Cardinal Covenant Scholarship ensures a full college education to a financially disadvantaged Kentucky student whose family lives at or below 150 percent of the poverty level. The scholarship’s inaugural recipient, Ra’vonte Harbin, is set to graduate this coming spring. The foundation also facilitates a Courage Camp for patients at Norton Children’s Hospital. Each year, 100 children from the hospital are invited – along with their siblings – to participate in a half-day football camp with the university’s football team.

This spring, the foundation partnered with the City of Louisville to donate $100,000 to set up the Louisville Flood Relief Fund as part of its #LoveLouisville campaign. Families displaced or affected by the devastating flooding this year were able to apply for up to $1,000 to assist with emergency expenses and recovery.

Petrino Scott described her role of executive director as multifaceted: “A lot of what I do is event planning. I also get to go out and visit different charities and organizations around Louisville. I do a lot of community building work and projects, graphic design-type stuff, social media marketing and PR and office management type stuff. I am one of two paid members of the foundation, the other being my sister Katie, who is the deputy director. Between the two of us, we are responsible for running an organization that has averaged raising around half a million dollars for the last few years.”

As it celebrates $1,072,250 donated by the end of this year, the Petrino Family Foundation is looking to the future and excited to expand its #LoveLouisville campaign, an initiative to spread kindness to different parts of the community. Members of the foundation also look forward to their 2019 fundraising events, the Evening of X’s and O’s Dinner at Churchill Downs and the Spring Golf Classic & Cocktail Party.

“The Petrino family loves this community so much,” Wagner affirmed, “and I love seeing how much the foundation has given back to the city.” VT

Signature Social

Photos by Kathryn Harrington

Leading up to the Signature Chefs Auction coming up in November, March of Dimes hosted their Signature Social at Churchill Downs on Aug. 16. Event partners and supporters got acquainted with this year’s event chair, Marla Guillaume, and this year’s ambassador family, Kelsey Petrino Scott and LD Scott.

Spirits, Sparkles and Spurs

Photos by Tim Valentino

Cowboy hats and pearls alike were donned at this annual event benefiting KET’s services and programs on Aug. 11. Participants enjoyed a bourbon face-off, live music and a silent auction at the outdoor venue, Brown-Forman Silo Center at Turkey Run Park. Don and Libby Parkinson served as the event’s honorary chairs and were celebrated at the event’s reception.