Chapel Hill Comes to Churchill Downs
Heels gatherfor annual derby party
Several shades of blue and 550 miles sep- arate Kentucky's holy ground of horse
racing from the kings of college basketball,
but the Bowling Green Carolina Club
knows how to bring the two together.
On the first Saturday in May for the past
four years, club leader Matt Cook ' 94 and
his wife, Melanie, have hosted a Kentucky
Derby party for Carolina alumni and their
families "to celebrate being Tar Heels in
Kentucky," Cook says.
M ter he graduated from UNC with a
degree in political science, Cook moved to
Louisville - the home of Churchill
Downs - for law school.
"My wife is a native Kentuckian, and she
grew up going to the derby a lot," Cook
says. "I sort of got into it. It seemed like a
natural thing for North Carolinians to get
together on a Kentucky holiday. It's the best
of bo th worlds."
So far, the parties have met with success;
it's the club's largest event each year. About
30 people showed up in May for the "most
exciting two minutes in sports." Men's bas-
ketball game-viewing parties in the area
usually attract about half as many people.
Each year the Cooks open their home a
couple of hours before the derby begins.
Once there, guests can sip mint juleps -
the official drink of the Kentucky Derby
- and mingle with fellow Tar Heels.
Then, minutes before the derby begins,
partygoers join the Churchill Downs crowd
in the singing of
My Old Kentucky Home.
And in true Kentucky Derby fashion,
alumni can buy into a pot and draw a
horse's name. Whoever drew the horse that
wins takes home the pot. But Cook says
the party isn't about mint juleps or money.
"I think this falls at a good time of the
year, the weather is getting better, people
want to get out," he says. "It's an event."
In Kentucky, events don't get any bigger
than the derby.
the Bowling Green club.
"We always go every
time they open the
door," says Stone."We
really enjoy those get-
togethers. It's just a
good, friendly group.
There's always a good
mix of people."
That mix includes
alunmi from the '50s all
the way up to recent
graduates. Stone says any Carolina alumni
in the area who don't come to the parties
"just haven't locked on to a good thing."
Giacomo's derby win might have been a
surprise, Cook says, but an entertaining after-
noon with fellow Tar Heels was certain.•
25th Annual Black Alumni Reunion
Homecoming Weekend, November
Join us for the 2005 Black Alumni Reunion
as we celebrate 25 years of dedication,
commitment and accomplishments. Visit
alumni.unc.edu for more information.
Make plans now to return to Chapel Hill
and remember the good times.
The May/June issue of the
reported ho w the Atlanta Caroli na Cl ub ra ised
$1,500 for scholarships. This amount was raised in
three raffles of autographed basketballs held
throughout the basketball season.
Call the Hilton Raleigh-Durham Airport at (800) 445-8667 by Oct. 21 and request the UNB
or UNC Black Alumni Reunion rate of $89/night (single or double).
Questions? Call (919) 962-3582 or e-mail email@example.com
GENERAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
CAR 0 LIN A A L U M N IRE V lEW
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