April 18, 2023. Louisville, KY. – Through a special second chance promotion sponsored by the Kentucky Lottery, Jerry Puckett won the opportunity to be this year’s Derby City Fanatic for the 2023 Kentucky Derby Festival. As part of his big win, Puckett will serve as the Thundernator for the Derby Festival Opening Ceremonies: Thunder Over Louisville on Saturday, April 22.

Puckett is thrilled to get to participate in the festivities. He will have the opportunity to provide the Thunder countdown and “zero” ignition to activate the launch system sequence in the Command Center at the Galt House Hotel. Puckett’s Derby City Fanatic prize package includes numerous one-of-a-kind Derby Festival-themed experiences and $500 in spending money from Kentucky Lottery.

Puckett, a Navy veteran, is a long-time Kentucky Lottery player but never thought he could win a prize package like the Derby City Fanatic. “I play the Powerball and the Mega Millions every week,” Puckett said. “This second chance promotion contest, it’s the first time I’ve entered. I just wanted to see if I could win. And I did!” Puckett was an attendee at the first ever Thunder Over Louisville and that’s where his love of the Derby Festival began. And while he hasn’t attended every Thunder in-person, he does make a point to watch every year on television. With his long history of loving the fireworks show, he is most excited about kicking things off by launching the sequence to start the show on Saturday night.

There were over 10,000 entries in the promotion which kicked off on February 6th. Players signed in or registered for a Fun Club account at www.kylottery.com. Once logged in, they were able to submit eligible KENO or CASH POP tickets worth $5 or more for a chance to be named the 2023 Derby City Fanatic.

COVERAGE NOTE: Several soundbites from Puckett are included in a Dropbox link below. You will also find a log of those soundbites and TRTs attached to this email.


For questions, please contact Travis Ragsdale at the Kentucky Lottery (502) 560-1582

Puckett won a VIP Experience package that includes: Serving as the 2023 Thundernator; VIP tickets to Thunder Over Louisville; accommodations at The Galt House Hotel during Thunder weekend; tickets to Republic Bank BourbonVille; a tour of the Kentucky Derby Museum; behind-the-scenes tour and experience at Kern’s Kitchen/Derby-Pie ®; tickets to the Shepherd Insurance Great Steamboat Race aboard the Belle of Louisville; seats to Derby Festival Day at the Downs Presented by Honda World on Thurby; Official 2023 Derby Festival swag; and $500 in spending money.

Thunder Over Louisville – the Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies – is one of the more than 70 events produced by the Derby Festival in the spring. It provides an estimated impact of $56 million to the area’s economy. The 2023 Thunder Over Louisville – themed “Through the Decades” – is set for Saturday, April 22. It will be the 34th production.

About Kentucky Derby Festival
2023 marks the 68th year for the Kentucky Derby Festival, a month-long celebration packed with 70+ events leading up to the first Saturday in May. As an independent community organization, it’s supported by 4,000 volunteers, more than 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. It entertains more than 1.5 million people every spring and has a local economic impact of more than $127 million. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single-attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.
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