March 21, 2016. Louisville, KY.   – Burger fans have spoken!  More than 18,000 beef lovers voted online to help pick the top 4 finalists for this year’s Derby Burger Challenge sponsored by the Kentucky Beef Council.  This year’s finalists include: Kevin Barnes of Louisville, with the Louisville Loop Burger; Maurice Williams of Louisville, with the SmoFried Cheese Stuffed Angus Burger; Tanya Hicks of Salem, Indiana with the Banh mi Burger; and 2015’s Derby Burger Champion, Sarah Allgeier of Louisville, returns to the competition with her Italian Grilled Cheese Burger.

Dozens of original recipes were submitted for the fifth annual competition.  The winning burger will be named on Thursday, March 24th.  The champion will be determined based on four factors – Taste, Appearance, Creativity and Ease of Preparation.

Coverage Note:  Media are invited to meet the Derby Burger Champion on Thursday, March 24, at 9:00 a.m. at the Kroger in Middletown at 12501 Shelbyville Road.  There will be samples of the winning 2016 Derby Burger.

The winning burger will be a featured menu item at Louisville’s “Over The 9” restaurant in May, recognized in Louisville-area Kroger stores and samples will be featured at the Kentucky Derby Festival’s BeerFest presented by American Founders Bank. Official rules of the competition can be found online at KDF.org/beef.

The winning chef also receives VIP tickets to Thunder Over Louisville, tickets to Waterfront Jam and BeerFest at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville, as well as a $100 gift certificate to Kroger and a grilling package from Kentucky Beef Council.

From now through April 15, all purchasers of fresh ground beef at any of the Kentuckiana Kroger stores (excluding Lexington locations) will receive a code at checkout (on the bottom of the receipt).  The message encourages you to register online at www.kdf.org/beef for a chance to win VIP tickets to a Waterfront Jam Concert at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville or BeerFest presented by American Founders Bank.

Since 1956, the Derby Festival has worked to bring the community together in celebration. The Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.

June 21 - June 21