Fun Facts About the 50 States: Kentucky

Welcome to Fun Facts About the 50 States, where – week by week – I’ll be taking you on a tour around this great nation of ours, providing you with interesting, yet completely useless and probably untrue, information about each of the 50 states.

This week, it’s time to put the K in KFC, because we’re headed out to Kentucky, so let’s get started…

In the last vote on the matter, this design narrowly beat out an image of two pickups and a still.

* Kentucky became the 15th state on June 1, 1792, despite the fact that no one in the state can actually count that high.

* The state sport of Kentucky is horse racing, mostly because you can’t lose your license for “riding under the influence”.

* In Kentucky, spitting tobacco juice on someone is considered a friendly greeting, much like the “up yours!” of a New York cabbie.

* Kentucky is one of America’s leading coal-mining states. Coal miners are easily recognizable by their almost Frenchman-like layer of black filth.

* While attending church services in Kentucky, remember that – traditionally – the collection plate is passed BEFORE the spittoon.

* They get REALLY upset when you get that wrong.

* The state reality TV show of Kentucky is the Jerry Springer show, or – as it’s known locally – “Southern Survivor”.

* When visiting a Civil War battlefield in Kentucky, try not to laugh out loud if the guide mentions how “we purt’ near won that battle”.

* The state flower of Kentucky is Goldenrod, which should not be confused with that crappy James Bond movie starring Pierce Brosnan.

* The state motto of Kentucky is “United we stand, divided we fall, drunk we pass out.”

* This replaced the old motto of “4 million people, 15 last names”.

* There are no newspapers in Kentucky, as being literate is considered snooty.

* Although Kentucky is bordered by seven different states, Kentuckians rarely shop across state lines, since most stores in other states have firm “no shoes, no teeth, no service” policies.

* Kentucky’s nickname is the Bluegrass state.

* Yeah, we all know grass is GREEN, but if you try to tell THEM that, they’ll think you’re just being snooty.

* Kentucky is the only state in the US where drivers routinely hit their brakes before running over banjo players.

* The electric lightbulb was first demonstrated at the Southern Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky in 1883, but was dismissed by locals as just another passing fad, like horseless carriages and soap.

* Kentucky’s name comes from the Iroquois Indian word “Ken-tah-ten”, which means, “wife… sister… what’s the difference?”

* The state song of Kentucky is the Hee Haw Theme.

* Kentucky has a population of 4 million people, all of whom are nicknamed Bubba.

* Except for the women, of course, who are nicknamed Bubba Mae.

* Or Auntie Mom.

* The state tree of Kentucky is whichever one the Governor drives into while drunk. This week it’s the tulip poplar.

* The Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously-run horse race in America, and was the inspiration for such other races as the Kentucky Stetson and the Kentucky Yarmulke.

* Heather French became the first Miss America from Kentucky in 1999. She beat out Miss Alabama by correctly answering the question, “What is a toothbrush used for?”

* Colonel Harlan Sanders opened his first fried chicken restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky in 1952. It was hugely successful, unlike his earlier chain of Kentucky Fried Possum.

* Both Abraham Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davis were born in Kentucky. They attended the same school as John Wilkes Booth, who routinely beat them both up and stole their lunch money.

* The song “Happy Birthday To You” was written by two sisters from Louisville, Kentucky in 1893, and was originally titled, “I’m Too Cheap to Buy You a Present”.


Well, that wraps up the Kentucky edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week I’ll be slogging through the bayous of Louisiana.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go grab me a bucket of KFP.


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  1. “Kentucky is the only state in the US where drivers routinely hit their brakes before running over banjo players.”

    In their defense, they do speed up to hit mimes.


  2. So, is it Kentucky whiskey and Tennessee bourbon? Or Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey?

    And what about the feud between the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s?


  3. I’m not certain that the average New York cabbie knows enough English now to say “Up yours.” They have other colorful phrases. They often don’t know how to get anywhere in Manhattan, but they can find their way through Mumbai brilliantly. Which is not much help.

    It’s a tough job and I would not want it, but there are so few native New Yorkers driving cabs these days you wonder how anyone gets anywhere.


  4. You forgot to mention that Kentucky is one of the few states (we’re actually a Commonwealth) that doesn’t have sex education and driver’s education on the same day in high school.

    It’s too hard on the mule.

    Also, here in Kentucky family reunions are very popular. It’s a great place to pick up girls.


  5. Big Bob, something I’ve always wondered: if a couple in Kentucky get a divorce, are they still brother and sister?


  6. Ogrrre, I’d have to check with the 1800 cousins I know about there in Kentucky. 🙂 I tease my daughter about her long-standing(running?) desire to be barefoot all the time to be our Kentucky roots rearing their ugly head. My mother is from Kentucky and I have missing adult teeth to prove it! (They never were there)



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