July 1, 2020. Louisville, KY. – The Kentucky Derby Festival is making sure U.S. Troops around the world won’t miss Thunder Over Louisville this year. The Festival has teamed up with the Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet, as well as WDRB to share an encore presentation of Thunder with the American Forces Network. It will be broadcast on Independence Day to more than a half million U.S. Armed Forces personnel, Department of Defense civilian employees, and their families stationed overseas.
“We’re honored to be able to share Thunder Over Louisville with military personnel and their families on this patriotic holiday, and especially during the challenging times we’re all facing,” said Matt Gibson, President and CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival, who introduces the broadcast along with Governor Andy Beshear.
“We recognize the sacrifice that American troops make each and every day to ensure our freedoms are protected,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “This show is a special tribute to honor our troops for their patriotism and let them know that Kentuckians are supporting them every step of the way.”
The 90-minute special, which features highlights from WDRB’s 2016 broadcast of the Thunder air show and fireworks, will be shown on July 4th to viewers on U.S. military installations, at U.S. embassies and U.S. consulates located in approximately 168 countries and territories, as well as aboard more than 140 U.S. Navy ships at sea outside of U.S. territorial waters.
“Despite these unprecedented times, American troops continue to show remarkable strength and courage as they strive to protect the freedoms we all enjoy,” said Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Mike Berry. “Our cabinet is honored to be a part of this unique partnership that pays tribute to American troops stationed across the world for their sacrifice and commitment.”
WDRB is the official television broadcast partner of Thunder this year. While the event was not able to be held in 2020, WDRB was able to create an edited version for the American Forces Network from their 2016 Thunder broadcast.
“Our team at WDRB always looks forward to producing the Thunder Over Louisville broadcast for the community,” said Dale R. Woods, WDRB President & General Manager. “In such an unprecedented year, we’re proud we could present this special encore for our military heroes to celebrate our freedom and honor their selfless service.”
The Thunder special will air July 4th starting at 7 p.m. viewer time overseas on the AFN|prime channel. In addition to AFN, WDRB is also sharing the broadcast on WDRB.com and their OTT app, WDRB Now (The app is available on Apple TV, Amazon and Roku.) WDRB will have the show available for on demand viewing from Friday, July 3 – Monday, July 6.
Thunder Over Louisville – the Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies – is one of the more than seventy events produced by the Derby Festival in the spring. The event was not able to be held in 2020 due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. Next year’s show is set for April 17, 2021.The show is sponsored by: Caesars Southern Indiana, LG&E, Meijer, and UPS. Thunder on the Ground Sponsor: Ford Motor Company. Thunder Funder Sponsor: Papa John’s. Official Sound Sponsor: Logan Lavelle Hunt. Official Hotel: The Galt House. Command Center Sponsor: Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. Official Broadcast Partners: WDRB and SummitMedia’s 106.9 PLAY.