The Kentucky Derby was a must for our 50 states in 50 weeks RV adventure.  It was actually the only stop we planned around.  Every other state just had to fall into place.  Needless to say we had a blast and there is so much more to the derby than Saturday horse racing and fancy hats!


The first stop was researching online.  What do tickets cost?  Gulp…hundreds to thousands of dollars?  Uh, maybe we shouldn’t have planned Kentucky around the derby.  For all five of us to go would cost a small fortune.  Colter and I had to talk this over because spending $1000 just on tickets, just to see some horses run might not be what we wanted to spend our money on.  We both drug our feet, especially Colter.

One of our solutions was to just he and I go and get a babysitter for the girls.  That might work but how much would a babysitter cost and would they be willing to watch the girls in the RV?  We had a lot of unknowns at this point so I decided to call a ticket distributor.

I lucked out!  The gentleman that answered my call was very patient and even explained to me there is not just one day of races, but three!  This was eye-opening for me.  He didn’t only explain the races but told me prices, how people usually dress for each day and what horses race each day.  I learned so much I wrote a separate blog post, Everything You Need to Know about the Derby.

Due to ticket prices and us wanting to see the races, we decided it would be best for us to go to the Thursday races or Thurby.  Now we had tickets,  it was time for the ensemble!


Outfits are a big deal at the derby, especially hats.  My initial plan was to make our hats before the day of the race but due to our quick travels and lack of a lot of extra time, I did not get it done.  So the morning of the races, I ran to Target to look for hats.  Five hats were purchased but the little girls hats needed some flare.  Target did not carry any flowers and I was running out of time.

Walmart was across the street so I dashed inside for flowers and garnishments.  When I say dash, I mean as fast as I can go with three kids in tow!

When I finally got back, Colter had taken the baked french toast out of the oven and we were ready to eat.  A quick breakfast was inhaled and then it was go time to be creative and decorate hats.  Wire cutters snipped the flower heads off the bouquet and then I was able to arrange and change the garnishments to my desired design.

Blakely was a lot of fun on this project because she loves to do crafts and be creative.  Originally, I would have just done a cluster of flowers up front but she decided that she wanted flowers all around the crown of that hat!  The design worked really well.  Allowing her to help with her design was the icing on the cake to have a great Thurby day!

Saving everything for the last minute created a somewhat frustrating morning because I felt like I was behind from the get-go.  This was our day for the derby and we were missing it!  Yikes.  Everyone needed to look nice and I wanted to curl the girls hair and make sure they looked cute.


By the time we got ready, to Church Hill Downs and in our seats we only missed two races.  Hurray!

The crowds were fantastic!  Our original seats were under the shade, about 1/3 of the way up the final section of track, in the 200’s.  There was hardly anyone down on the 100 level on the fence so we moved up to watch the races on the fence.  This was a great location because that was where most of the horses would make their move.

In between races was when we would tour the grounds, go see the horses and one time Blakely and I went to the store to see what we could find.  We found hats and fascinators (fancy headbands) to try on!  One of my favorite hats made Blakely look like she was a princess.  The hat had a full brim, was cream in color with pink trim around the outside.  The design was simple with a large bow, the same material as the hat, decorating the top.

Prices were outrageous though!  For a large hat the most expensive I found was $209 and the cheapest was about $30.  The fascinators were less expensive and just as fun!  Some can get more pricey depending on your style and what matches your outfit.

On our venturing out of the stands our girls were quite the head-turners.  They stood out probably due to the fact there aren’t a lot of children at the races but I believe it was mostly due to how stinking cute they all are!  Saylor owned it and strutted around in her dress and clear blue eyes.  When all three of us went out it was quite the train of little ducklings.

The girls got tired after a while and played in a little section of dirt that was coming from the track to the stands.  Their dresses were dirty but they had a lot of fun!


Thurby was awesome!  I think I might make me a new tradition of decorating hats and watching horse races the first Saturday in May every year!  Invite some friends over and it will be perfect.