Traditions update: ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ and more

Photo by Barry Westerman, UK Athletics

Photo by Barry Westerman, UK Athletics

That’s exactly why we asked.

Last week, we told you we wanted to create new game-day traditions at Commonwealth Stadium and directed you to give us suggestions. Nearly 100 emails, more than 130 comments on our original post and countless social media responses later, we’ve gotten plenty of them. Clearly, this is a topic that matters as much to you as it does to us.

Our first idea for a new tradition was to move the playing of “My Old Kentucky Home” to between the third and fourth quarter. Based on your feedback, we have taken that off the table.

A handful of you liked it, but the majority wants something with more energy before the start of the fourth quarter. That’s what we’re going to do.

Many of you have also written in that you’d like to see more former player and celebrity involvement in our game-day traditions. Others have said they want to see the band used in innovative and fun ways and more still have said they want our traditions to be interactive.

We have an idea for the break between the third and fourth quarter that fits the bill on all fronts. We’re going to tweak it throughout the summer and save it for the season opener on Aug. 30. Stay tuned.

Back to “My Old Kentucky Home,” you may not want it to be played before the fourth quarter, but your feedback tells us the song is still a very important part of game day.

Currently, “My Old Kentucky Home” is played during pregame immediately before the national anthem by the band, as well as postgame. Many of you have suggested the team should sing the song with the students and band postgame, but before we decide that, we need to know when you want the song to be played.

Cast your vote in the poll below and tell your friends to do the same. Note that this vote is for football games only, not basketball.

When should “My Old Kentucky Home” be played on game day?

View Results

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“My Old Kentucky Home” and the break before the fourth quarter were far from the only topics covered in your feedback over the last week. Let’s talk about some of the others and a few other items of note:

  • Incorporating Kentucky’s rich horse tradition came up often in your feedback. We are looking into a few ideas for how this can be executed safely and in a way that adds to game day.
  • In a bit of exciting news, a change to Southeastern Conference bylaws will allow video, audio and music between downs for the first time. We plan to take full advantage of that.
  • We have been paying attention to the fact that you want to stay updated on other games throughout the country. We are planning to move the continuous loop of game scores to a more visible section of the ribbon board and we are identifying ways to package highlights from other games to be shown on the video boards.
  • Many of you wrote in to suggest a live wildcat mascot should come to games. As cool as this would be, wildcats are very shy animals. A large, cheering crowd would be dangerous and potentially life-threatening to the animal, according to experts.
  • Lots of fans clamored for more fighter jet flyovers on game day. In recent years, securing approval for a flyover has become more difficult, not to mention cost prohibitive. We are exploring the possibility of a flyover at some point this season, but it is not feasible on an every-game basis. We are also working with the Kentucky National Guard and other first responder organizations to find ways to honor them throughout the year, including video shout-outs from Kentuckians serving overseas.
  • The national anthem has been another popular topic. We are exploring booking live anthem singers this season, as well as working to determine where the anthem fits best into the Wildcat Marching Band’s pregame routine.
  • Speaking of the band, many fans have requested the band be mic’d up during games. In fact, the band is already mic’d up and its music is played through speakers on the field. It is not possible to use the end-zone speakers due to delay and there are no speakers throughout the seating bowl to extend audio reach.
  • We are working on creating more fun activities for families and children in the Wildcat Refuge outside Gate 9 as well as more effectively educating fans on where the area is. Construction will make it difficult for us to have these kinds of activities on the concourse in 2014, but doing so in 2015 and beyond is a possibility.
  • Music. If you’re reading this and wondering why we haven’t discussed game-day music selections yet, rest easy. Due to the importance of this topic, we are going to address it separately later this week.

111 thoughts on “Traditions update: ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ and more

  1. John Vinson

    Perhaps instead of a live wildcat at the stadium, sponsor the wildcat exhibit at the Salato Education Center in Frankfort. Morehead sponsors the exhibit of the bald eagle. Maybe could even set up a live webcam of the wildcat and show it throughout the game

    1. Brennan

      I like John Vinson’s idea of supporting the Wildcat exhibit. Our school should have more pride in that sort of thing.

  2. Jim

    Just an observation, and to say thanks for doing this. And I was guessing that the voting was divided along basketball / football lines. The football fans are used to it being played before the games, and the basketball fans after, that’s just how it’s been in my experience. I voted for both :)

    – Yes, good choice. Please no live Wildcats at the game.

  3. Marsha Starks

    I don’t remember where, but one time I heard my old Kentucky home played at a much faster beat. It’s was not such a downer song playing at that speed. It sounded great. The band could play it fast for pre game, then original version for post game.

    1. Alan

      FINALLY!! A smart observation!!!

      My Old Kentucky Home WAS NEVER MEANT to be played slowly like a funeral dirge…it’s a HAPPY SONG! Foster wrote it about good times and good remembrances…”the sun shines BRIGHT!..birds make music all the day…summer, the people are gay!!!”…why on earth does UK play it so sllllooooowwwwwwwwly? In the Civil War the tune was played lively and upbeat.

      Speed it up, just once, and let’s see if it can’t be FUN!!!

  4. Mary Lib McFarland

    I am glad you are addressing game day music. We have been to games at several other SEC schools and love some of their traditions that get the crowd really excited. That’s what we are looking for. With the great job that Coach Stoops has done with recruiting, we think there will be lots of excitement at the games and want to be able to show it with the rest of the crowd.

    It is a good idea to have someone singing the National Anthem. My hope is that they include the crowd. The music professor that sings at the basketball games has everyone sing and it is chilling there so with the larger crowd, it would even be better. It shouldn’t be a stage for someone to show off their talent, rather a participation by the fans.

    Thanks for caring about how passionate the fans are about a change and trying to satisfy us all.

      1. dennis wardle

        I love our state song,but this is a violent game and this somber songs kills the crowd’s enthusiasm b4 the game… should be played at postgame,if u wanna hear then stick around till the end of the gm

    1. Jasper Earl Swindle

      The Live cam is a very good idea! As for My Old Kentucky Home it is maybe the only tradition we have! If you don’t feel this song with some pride you are not alive!

  5. Faye Daniel

    As the Mom of a former Wildcat Band Member, I miss the little Blue Band in the parking lot during Tailgating. I always had water or cokes for them. I still get frustrated when the crowd leaves at halftime. Most do not know how hard these kids work on their shows. They do not do a new one each game but do the same twice once to each side. It is like a new one to them their positions are opposite. Maybe close the concessions at halftime until after the Band Show. Just kidding, they would still leave & wait in line. This is an age old problem.

  6. Drew

    Instead of bringing the live wildcat mascot, what about a Thoroughbred that does laps around the outside of the field in the stadium while we play an upbeat song or call to the post again? Get the crowd involved with cheering as the horse passes their section, similar to how the K pyramid in Rupp happens, as the pyramid turns, the arena begins to stand and get loud and then maybe on the second pass a chant or something starts?

    1. Mike Brown

      Need to be careful about live animals. Some years ago in Georgia, the Lowndes County Plowboys were playing the Valdosta Wildcats in a huge rivalry. You may know the stadium, you can see it from I-75 as you pass Valdosta on the way to FL. It holds 30,000. After many successful practices in an empty stadium, they tried to mimic the FL State Seminole at the middle of the field with a mule, a guy in bib overalls and a pitchfork. Ended badly; luckily the pitchfork didn’t hit anyone and the rider was unhurt. It took them and hour to calm the mule down to get it out of the stadium.

  7. Todd

    no more “first down KEN TUCK EEEEEE that is sooooo silly …. I mean getting a first down shouldn’t be that big of deal… let’s shoot for loftier goals like TOUCHHHH DOOOOWNNNNNSSS KENNNNTUUUCCKKKKEEEEE or INTERCEPPTIIIOOONNNSSSSS KEEEENNNNTTTTUUCCCCCKKKKYYY something more than gaining ten measly yards… :)

    1. Po

      I’ll take “first down Kentucky” over “fourth down Kentucky” ALL….DAY….LONG…… and probably a couple hundred players and coaches and staff on the sideline and up in the booth will welcome as many as possible. You can actually have it ALL (first downs, interceptions, and touchdowns) if you’re good enough. Keep it up Carl!

      1. Kim

        Totally agree- I love First Down Kentucky… We need more energy all thru the game- and better music- Anytime the crowd can get on their feet and dance or move it just gets everyone (including the players ) excited. Love Ky Football but we do need some new traditions..

  8. Michael Owens

    One thing that I forgot to chime in on was the use of our incredible video boards. I understand we need to keep corporate sponsors happy. But the Athletic Department paid a lot of money for those screens to be taken up by 30% advertising. And it’s static advertising. Can’t we hang cheaper ad boards off the video boards to the side, and actually use our video board for… well you know… Video??? I know that without sponsors we don’t have those video boards; however their very static logos take up a ton of space on those multi-million dollar boards. There has to be a better way to utilize those boards and still give the sponsors the ad time and space they deserve.



    1. Brad

      I Agree with Michael about the video boards. Show us plays and replays in full screen and save the ads for something else.

    2. Wildcat Fan

      I agree with Michael as well. Never seen any other school/pro team use their boards like UK does. Ad boards on the sides of the screens and 1-2 second ad sponsor logo swipe/transition screens between replays and plays and UK could use the full boards to show action and not ads.

  9. Derek

    I love the idea of pre and post game playing of ‘My Old Kentucky Home.” It’s a great state song, and rallies us together.

    I also love the idea of adding more horse-related traditions to game day. The call to post bugle is a great thing. As well, USC has Traveler– it would be awesome to have our own horse as a mascot–
    Cat O’ War
    Bluegrass Battle Mare/Colt
    These are somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but could be cool.

    Go Cats!

  10. Brad

    I have a few different ideas based on gamedays.

    We all know music is very important for the environment, the fans and definitely the players on the field. Someone mentioned the song in a previous post, but I used to love the Kentucky version of I’m from the Country by Tracy Byrd.

    We also need a song that we can claim as ours. For example, South Carolina plays Sandstorm, Ohio State plays Hang on Sloopy and the many more schools with their songs that help create the special environment we are going for which the players and fans seem to love. We try to play Jump Around and it is fine but another school does that, we need something to call ours. Whether we reach out to a few famous country music singers or rappers with UK ties and let them know about our project, something is needed.

    I also think we should make the Catwalk even greater. Show it as part of the highlights before the game to show all of the other fans who don’t show up what it is like. I know we have the wildcat in front of Memorial, but what if we had one close to the football stadium the players could touch while making the walk, like Clemson touching Howard’s Rock or Notre Dame players slapping the Play like a Champion sign.

    I always enjoy when we break down the CATS chant in to sections of the stadium before the game, kind of like we do at Rupp when we have a big opponent, the game is rocking and everyone loves a good CATS chant.

    Night or afternoon games – I know we don’t have much of a choice with this because of TV and wanting to be picked up regardless, but always vote for a later game if we do have a say.

    Last but not least – Make a bigger deal out of the games that are really important. Of course every game is important but the Vandy game could be the most important game of the year very early on, and based on the previous 2 crowds for the Vandy game, we have got to do something special and exciting. Whether it is a blue out, white out, black out, rowdy rags, something to get everyone excited.

    1. Arin T

      I like the idea of the blue out (et al) but make sure that the cheap seats get included… the blue hairs that have the “great” seats don’t really care about the shirt but for the people in the cheap seats… they are putting out a lot of their money to be there… so make them feel special too. I know for my family of 4 it isn’t cheap to go to a football game (and we won’t even go into the cost of all of us going to a basketball game). It really burns me to see the season ticket holder seats empty with a big 3 sign on their seats at the basketball games and the upper deck JAMMED pack and no threes to be seen for them.

    2. Jay Hensley

      We already have a song for Kentucky. It’s My Old Kentucky Home. Steeped in tradition and part of the fabric of Kentucky since 1852. Why pick a new song? Do you really want us to be as annoying as Tennessee with their horrifically frequent renditions of rocky top? Our song is fine. Just play the fight song more if you want to get hyped.

      1. Betty

        I agree with Jay. Not every state has a song which so identifies it as does My Old Kentucky Home does Kentucky. The version that UK uses is so superior to the one UofL uses that I so wish on Derby Day they would use the UK version–beautiful baritone parts. I know the kids in the band work hard, however, whomever thinks up the half-time shows–well, they leave much to be desired. Repeated shows, standing in concert formation instead marching or doing images–dull, dull, dull and a real buzz kill. Try to emulate what the Ohio State band did this past year. Now that was exciting! I was not in UK’s band while there in school because I was a girl and the band known as the Marching 100 was made up of 70 boys. Finally had to let the girls in just to have any size. A bit embarrasing as Lafayette’s band at that time was marching over 200. Any way, I was in a high school band and know the prep. UK could do much better and a better product keeps fannies in the seat during half. People know when they repeat shows. Just saying. As far as letting people sing the national anthem, well we’ve tried that in the past. I am not interested in hearing someone twang out their rendition of what Francis Scott Key gave us. Let the band play it. They at least play it correctly and it is the anthem of our country and deserves no less!

  11. anthony underwood

    I think a modernized version of the song has been performed by someone ,just not sure who.

  12. Arin T

    What about prizes for just being there? Like the ability to win tickets to the next home game, if you are still there for the end of the game …. to win you must be present? And the cost might be out there but what about post game fireworks? Also you could offer prizes for the most spirited tailgating group? That could get really competitive.

  13. daddy

    I think it’d be pretty dumb to only play my old kentucky home at the end of the game. It’s a slow song sure, but it gets the blood pumping pre-game. especially if the crowd sings along

  14. Jodi Sullivan

    On the topic of the national anthem, I agree live singers would be great, however I’d like to make a suggestion – it is wonderful that at basketball games we highlight the talent from UK’s music department, but occasionally I’d love to hear something more modern and more appealing to the ear. The opera style that is traditionally performed by the music students doesn’t showcase any of Kentucky’s “personality”.

  15. Alec Swartz

    I think movie clips with exciting quotes or pump up speeches would an awesome addition to game experiences, especially with the new video boards at the stadium. An example would something such as the quote from gladiator “Are you not entertained” after a touchdown or taking of the lead by the wildcats followed by some other quote involving getting the crowd involved and loud for the team!

  16. Dwayne

    If you’re going to sing it pregame make about 20-30 minutes before. Some traditions need to die! No slow should EVER be played right before the game starts. Ask the players and coaches when they’d rather it be played, bet they would say only after as it will dampen any enthusiasm built up. Why get everyone all ramped up to just bring us down and then have to get ramped up again. Makes no sense! National Anthem is enough for pregame!

    As far as the video boards, give us more replays and stats. Also as a college football fan I care about other relevant games. So how about giving all the top 25 and SEC scores instead of the same 3 irrelevant scores you’ve given in the past.

  17. Richard

    My Old Kentucky Home is a downer. It’s slow and maudlin exactly at a time when the fans need to be upbeat. Do it at the end of the game.

    Another plan would be to eliminate recognition of academic achievements until halftime.

  18. jords

    Some thoughts:

    -Do 2 versions of My Old Kentucky Home – I heard some distinctly upbeat versions when we were in NOLA for the 2012 SEC/Final Four games. Could be a great way to help pump the crowd up.

    -Kentucky is one of the few schools with TWO fight songs, but few people know the words to Kentucky Fight. This would be a perfect time to change that, and make it a bigger deal.

    – Wisconsin’s Fifth Quarter is one of the coolest traditions I’ve witnessed, and definitely keeps people around for the full game.

    – Claim a few songs, and make them Kentucky’s. USC has Sandstorm and Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Ohio State and Michigan have 7 Nation Army. Why not one for Kentucky? You could go old school with ACDC’s Thunderstruck or Aerosmith’s Dream On, or something new and edgy. (Dream On could be a heck of a third quarter student led sing-along activity/fan pump up!)

    and lastly, why not have guest band leaders? Great way to keep alum and fans involved.

  19. Greg

    I like the idea of playing “My Old Kentucky Home” right before the entrance of the team. It would be a chance for the crowd to settle a little for that song, and then explode when the entrance music starts for the team. The calm before the storm……. I think the entrance would then be at a fever pitch.

  20. Adam

    Maybe instead of having a real wildcat or horses, perhaps put people in costumes and have them run a race, circle around the field between the third and fourth quarter or some other point. In Milwaukee and the few other place they do this it gets everybody involved. Something to get the fans excited.

  21. Chris C.

    My suggestion for “my old kentucky home” is more so when NOT to play it. The start of the game and the start of the 3rd quarter are 2 very important parts of the game to help establish momentum. The players feed off of fans so the fans need to be pumped up and yelling loudly. While “my old kentucky home” is a great tradition, it’s not one of the most upbeat songs. While it’s not a depressing song by the lyrics, the tone of the song is. Right before it’s played at games, there are more current,
    loud, enthusiastic songs that do have the fans pumped up. Then, everyone has to stop to sing the slow, quiet, song. I’d like to also state that a large majority of our players aren’t even KY kids so the song doesn’t mean as much to them, especially if we’re talking about getting g them pumped up. My suggestion is to play “my old kentucky home” but have at least 5 to 10 mins of a more player and fan approved “pumped up” type music.

  22. Eric

    Do NOT try playing My Old Kentucky Home between the 3rd and 4th quarters……please do NOT do that
    you want the crowd hyped up not falling asleep. I love the song but theres a time and place for it……thats not it dont kill the atmosphere

  23. Josh

    I think the music first and for most needs to change (Jump around, Party Rock, All we do is win, other hip hop songs should be incorpirated into the mix.

    Marcus McClinton video We Believe got the crowd pumped. UK should do more of that, or have fan favs or celebrities attend the games.

    Have fans wave blue hand towels or blue/white pom pom.

    More black and white outs.

  24. Josh

    Before the players run out of the tunnel, they should sound the horn like the guy does at Churchill Downs before the horses are loaded in the gate.


    I have two suggestion for Commonwealth Stadium:

    a). As for MY OLD KENTUCKYHOME… you do NOT OFFER to play it at the conclusion of HALF TIME. Personally, I remember when the UK MARCHING BAND would play “MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME” during haf-time WHILE forming the outline of an OLD HOME. AS they played the song and formed the OLD HOME, a select number of UK Marching Band members formed the CHIMNEY of the OLD HOME… complete with REAL SMOKE pouring out of the CHIMNEY (made with a type of smoking cauldron or pot). IT LOOKED VERY COOL, and was very UPLIFTING!
    I would like to see this type of formal production of MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME, with a CELEBERITY coming out from the front door of MY OLD KENTUKCY HOME (like the “Y” in Rupp Arena).

    b). How about utilizing the LOUD “SCREACHING SOUND” of a WILDCAT more frequently during the UK GAMES… I mean…you rarely hear the LOUD SCREACHING SOUND during any Commonwealth Games…and it should be SO LOUD it stands the hairs up on the necks of all fans and players…

    c). If we are working towards a REAL SEC FOOTBALL TEAM / PROGRAM… why not start developing the BEST MARCHING BAND IN THE SEC? I mean…REALLY put the funds for scholarships… bring in a LARGE amount of BAND MEMBERS…WORK and TRAIN THEM…and GET THE BEST MARCHING BAND in the SEC.

    Thank you for supplying this link for suggestions… GO CATS


    1. Craig

      We need an exciting stadium announcer throughout the game. Get rid of the same old songs played by the band during halftime!! The atmosphere needs to be electric throughout the entire game. Presently it reminds me of a high school game. I do think the stadium renovations will help bring a new atmosphere, but when for 75% of the game the crowd is silent, something needs to be done. Let’s create an atmosphere where other teams dread coming to Commonwealth stadium, especially Florida,Tennessee and Bobby Petrino!


      We are currently working on that. The band should have around 300 members if not more this year. The band is working hard to be the best band in the SEC. Why not support them?

  26. Meghann

    I love how so many people requested My Old Kentucky Home post game and it has been that way for as long as I remember. As I stated before UK can only do so much. With all the good support, there has been very bad fan support!

  27. Nick

    Definitely more blackout/whiteouts for games. I think finding a way to get the student body involved more would go a long way, whether through offering free shirts to the students, or something else. I also think having a horse involved in some way would be a great move. I love the idea of having a live wildcat, at least pregame come out on the field but understand if that is not plausable. Lastly, I feel something else that would have an even larger impact of the overall gameday attitude and experience would be that of a change in scenery. The tailgating scene is great but pales in comparison to other SEC schools such as UGA, Bama, and most notably Ole miss with the grove. I think it would be largely beneficial to the university to add some things or some way to create a better all day gameday experience to help build up the hype for the games. I know the renovations to commonwealth may help this but adding a much more scenic area outside of the stadium besides the concrete walls and parking lots would go a very, very long way in helping the gameday experience and atmosphere. It would definitely give the games more of an “SEC” and Southern feel to them. And that is something that would make this lifelong uk fan, season ticket holder, and student very happy.

  28. Brandon McWhorter

    I love the idea of having more kid friendly activities on gameday. Kids are the future of every program and I think the better the experience they have the more likely they are to be season ticket holders when they become adults. I would also love to see kids being incorporated at halftime with some type of competitions. I love being a season ticket holder and look forward to the future! Go Cats!!!

  29. John

    Traditions are born from something spontaneous and completely unexpected. Between the third and fourth quarter music makes a huge difference in getting the crowd on their feet. Of course, leading Florida with momentum on our side helps even more. Making all these experiences work is a combination of team success and fan participation. Clearly, team success brings out the best in the fans, students, the band and even the television audience.

    On the other hand merging the Kentucky State band with our band would create an experience like none other in the SEC. Do that and everything else falls in place.

  30. shinman

    Let’s use 3 horses to LEAD out the team as inhere comes “STOOPS TROOPS”!!! Awesome! Use video board more to show a pacing wildcat or a live wildcat on video board growling as in the lion in MGM movies. Come on some tech people ought to be able to come up with that!!! BTW we don’t need cheeze fireworks as the team comes out besides it may not work to well with the horses leading out “Stoops Troops’ Please don’t forget the air raid sirens every so often before the game to get the tailgate crowd fired up!!!! PLEASE no more first down kentucky—so stupid!!

  31. dennis wardle

    “MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME” should be played once and thats at the end of the game,if u insist on playing it twice then it should be played at halftime and at the end of the game…..I love this song and this state,but this is not an upbeat song and it kills the crowds enthusiasm b4 the game….we’re talking a game where ur knocking heads for 30 mins and u wanna play this song before the game…..people,its time that we the crwd CHANGE THE GAME!!!!

  32. Tom

    Aren’t we putting a lot of pressure on the band? Why should it be on their shoulder to fire up the fans?
    I remember them at Fayetteville a few years ago. In case ypu weren’t there let me fill you in.
    They sat right in front of us. The Arkansas band put on the pregame show, hog and all.
    Our band played a few tunes, the fight song once or twice.
    Then they settled in. BUT not for long. It started to rain. Out came the raincoats, most of the instruments quickly put in their cases. They halted the game because of lightening. Everyone took cover. Most under the stadium, but not our band. No siree, that got on their buses and were gone! Never to be seen again that night.
    They continued the game,.still raining and at halftime, the Arkansas band, apparently using plastic instruments put on acomplete half time show. Wonder how much it cost to send our rain sensitive band to Fayetteville? We ned to understand just what are the uses of a college marching band.
    Certainly NOT to support the football team!

  33. ludlowukfan

    well i think it would be great that the little girl from Denver Ky would sing either my Old Ky Home or the national anthem at home games. she is a powerhouse ball of fire when she sings. Also as a tradition all Kentuckians should weave back and forth like the cheerleaders do. would be an awesome site with your # 1 finger up. just a thought and start of a new tradition at the games. And be loud when were on defense. what does the BBN think of that as well as the staff for football games.

  34. B jabbour

    Personally I cannot imagine atteding a game w/o my ol ky home played before & after the game- it is so emotional & special to kentuckians! It would be sacrilegious to not play & sing it, in my opinion.

    But on a ‘new’ note- i think some added- like katy perry’s roar would be very appropriate- ‘you’re gonna hear me roar!!!’ Would really be cool to hear ‘roaring’ from alumni to nicholasville rd!

    & yes- nix the live wildcat, would be a real sad thing to harm it or anyone.

  35. dennis wardle

    “MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME” melody is somber and shouldnt be played b4 the game,this is a violent game where players are gonna knock heads for 3 hours…..this song kills the crowds enthusiasm b4 the game…..if ur gonna play the song then it should be played at halftime or postgame……We fans need to CHANGE THE GAME!!!!

  36. Wildcat Fan

    Not to sound rude, but the fact that you guys thought a slow song like MOKH before the 4th quarter was a good idea makes me think that “We’re going to tweak it throughout the summer and save it for the season opener on Aug. 30” maybe isn’t the best idea. If you want fan involvement, let’s continue the dialogue. Saying “OK…OK, we’ve got it now, just wait and see” isn’t exactly what I thought was going on here.

    Additionally, as to traditions, I remember in years previous (specifically the 90’s) when the male cheerleaders would run laps around Commonwealth with the giant flag, stopping every so often to wave it back and forth. Everyone would rise as the flag made its way past their section. It created a buzz around the stadium but wasn’t disrespectful to the team like the wave. Would be great to see it when UK is on defense late in a game.

    Speaking of disrespectful to the team, maybe instruct 101 ushers and Andy Frain security guards to confiscate beach balls that come towards them. One thing for a beach ball to come out in the fourth quarter if you’re up 30, embarrassing to see a handful of them flying around when you’re five minutes into hosting Florida.

    I have no problem with first down Kentucky but UK fans tend to make too much noise when UK is on offense. Maybe after a first down kentucky cheer, there could be a sign come up on the video boards that says something like “Quiet wildcats on the hunt,” or whatever, similar to how many NFL teams have signs come up on their boards that say “Quiet: Men At Work.”

    1. Guy Ramsey Post author

      The reason we’re confident the idea we have will work is that it’s a hybrid of a bunch of different ideas fans have sent in. And at some point we have to try something and see how it goes. We aren’t committing long term to anything. We’re going to ask for help evaluating what we come up with and either continue refining it or try something new based on the reaction.

  37. Todd

    I live in the Deep South and have attended many games at other SEC
    Venues. My Old Kentucky Home is great when I watch the Derby and
    Sip some Pappy Van winkle. However, it’s a buzz kill at the football stadium.
    Several Bama fans (friends that visited Lex last time BAma played there)
    stated that the music was pathetic and that Kentucky seemed to lack any
    traditional music that fired up the fans. Go visit other football schools and
    let’s get $hit right !! Go Cats!!!!!!

  38. Curt

    How about letting the little girl from Denver Ky sing My Old Ky Home or the National Anthem at all the home games. She woudl rock CWS. Also when playing My Old Ky Home have the crowd weave back and forth like the cheerleaders do would be an awesome site and new tradition. And some music to rock the crowd. Get the students to show and be loud.

  39. Charles Armstrong

    PLEASE STOP WITH THE “FIRST DOWN KENTUCKY” It is so annoying especially when we are behind 3 touchdowns

  40. samuel liberatore

    Tradition is a function of winning. Let’s go 11-1 and create some tradition on the field. Only then will all this “fluff” take shape. Nothing is as humiliating as a grand entry and then having your face rubbed in the mud. Winning comes first.

  41. Ryan

    Pom poms in every seat, for every game. When you watch Bama, Auburn, UGA, etc. the entire stadium has them and it looks awesome!

    Players on the video boards getting the fans pumped up for big 3rd downs

    C-A-T-S Cats Cats Cats cheer before every kickoff

    Thunderstruck after the 3rd Q.


  42. Catman

    PLEASE FANS ! GET LOUD when our opponents are in the REDZONE ! Our fans are sitting down not getting FIRED UP !

  43. Dwayne

    I bet Calipari would personally squash any attempt to sing MOKH right before tipoff. This is the dumbest thing we do pregame, STOP!

  44. Becky Mace

    I think when Stoop ‘ s Troops charge the field there should be the bugle charge blasted throughout Commonwealth finalized with a tremendous the wildcat growl/ scream! This would definately get the blood going!

    1. Becky Mace

      As well, have the cheerleaders involved by creating a battle clap that would include the entire stadium. Pump up the crowd and players!

  45. jill evans

    MORE EXCITEMENT,MORE ENERGY, MORE ENERGETIC AND CURRENT MUSIC, ever been to away sec games, its night and day from commonwealth; no horses, let them race, why would that fire anyone up other than the horse; its COLLEGE FOOTBALL, ITS THE SEC, ITS THE SOUTH, nuf said

    1. wickersham

      I know MOKH is meaningful but not in any way does it fire up players or fans for a college SEC football game. I have been attending games for 63 years in Lexington and I have never seen anything close to what Stoops is doing. He is building it right from the ground up and in a couple of years everybody is going to say WOW! This is the 1 chance to GET IT RIGHT! They used to play some good music back a few years ago–do you remember Burning Down The House and even better, during the air raid years Dropped a Bomb On You when we would score again and again. The marketing people have ramped it UP TO A NEW LEVEL. Let’s keep it cutting edge! I had always wanted a short burst of LaGrange by ZZ Topp while we had Woodyard and Braxton Kelly at linebacker. I’m old in number of years but I grew up on rock and roll, lets kick azz and take no prisoners! BBN, STOOPS TROOPS WHY NOT????

  46. Brian

    The poll should ask whether we want to hear “My Old Kentucky Home” once or twice? If you notice in the results, the once option is getting split.

  47. Brian

    The main problem at the games is the advertising and the announcing of the Biology Department and things like that. If this must be done, do it at halftime only.

  48. RV

    We have a secondary upbeat fight song already. It’s called Kentucky Fight. You can listen here

    This could and should be played between 3-4 quarters with the cheerleaders leading a chant after. One side yelling UK the opposing side yelling Why Not.

    Please include a display/museum area in the Nutter addition that fans can tour on gameday and selected other days throughout the year.

  49. Steve

    First, we need many more ways to get the crowd to be vocal. Organized chants/cheers/etc. Utilize video boards for this.

    My old kentucky home is a great song but it’s a ballad, a mood killer to open an exiting event. Just doesn’t mix psychologically with football. Why is it considered to be necessary?

    Misuse of video boards is astonishing. Most of the boards are used for static ads. This seems to be a total waste, as these displays could be accomplished with plastic rather than expensive pixels. Also, more replays. Use that big screen for gods sake! Also, use ribbon displays for interactive responses to plays ( in addition to ads)

  50. john

    Like to see the crowd make it loud and difficult for the opposing teams…like screaming blue white or defense the whole time our defense is on tge field….its a football game outside we should be loud…not quite like it is most of the time in rupp…….

  51. George

    I agree that video boards need full view of replays and game highlights, NOT STATIC ADS. Who needs to see the same ad for 90% of the 3 hr game time?? And music could be selected to be more diverse for the interest of all fans!

  52. Paul

    why not have a celebrity “Y” like at basketball games? that could be cool as well. I wonder why we don’t do some things at both Football and Basketball that are really liked at one or the other.

  53. Co

    My Old KY Home cannot be played at the end, unlike us, many people especially students, leave before the game is over. Before the game is good, just before the National Anthem and then get the fun music going after those are played. If you look at the visitors during MyOldKYHome, they are singing as much as the KY fans. I have never heard anyone around us call My OldKYHome a downer song. It’s part of tradition, do it, and then get on with the rest of the fun. Thinking back to Hal Mumme days, the stadium was fun! He was into Jimmy Buffet music. I am not suggesting that but, he had his own theme and the crowd embraced it. I would like more of an entrance for the team. It seems like music plays for a short time to pump us up and then the team runs out and the music is over. Drag it out for a while.

  54. Marcia, a Diehard Football Fan

    You asked for suggestions….this might be lengthy as I am very passionate for UK football, even though it’s had a hard way for a very long time!

    Love the fireworks, sirens & Wildcat mascot push ups to celebrate scoring a touchdown. Enjoy the flyovers, but understand they can be costly. Love the Wildcat/Scratch interactions. Love the “hideaway” game & the fan scans on the Jumbotron.

    My Old Kentucky Home should definitely be played post game. This has been “tradition” for as long as I can remember. Ending any other way would NEVER end up being a tradition or even feel the same. Don’t mess with a good thing!

    Whatever you do, PLEASE do not get rid of the “First Down (elongated) Kentucky” chant! Although it may sound corny, corny can be catchy! First Downs play an important part of the game as that is what the team is striving for in order to keep moving the chains down the field in order to get a touchdown. Without First Downs, there is no touchdown! When I was younger, I remember attending games with my parents & hearing the “First Down Kentucky” chant. Many years later, now that I understand First Downs & the entire concept of football, I can’t wait for “First Down Kentucky”. It also helps me keep in tune with how the play of the game is going; without it I would be lost. I hate going to road games because I can never tell when we’ve gotten a First Down. To me, “Card First Down” sounds stupid & no enthusiasm to it like our “First Down Kentucky”!

    Love the ideas of more “blackout” games using either Black, White, but especially love the idea of “Blue Out” Day. What about a “Pink Out” Day in October? Since October is usually known as Breast Cancer Awareness, at each game in October have an activity related to Breast Cancer Awareness…”Pink Out Kentucky” Day with the players wearing Pink & Blue jerseys or Pink & Blue helmets or pink shoes (not all at once, might be too much for TV appeal) even with the coaching staff participating; another game or two (depending on how many people) could recognize those within UK…staff, athletes, fans, alum, etc…who are Breast Cancer survivors – could even play that song “I’m a Survivor”…and have a moment of silence in memory of those, if any, within the UK family or alumni who did not survive Breast Cancer.

    As for the music…needs updating…big time! The band should have a more exciting halftime show. I do enjoy their Military show for Military Appreciation Day. Music needs to definitely be more on your feet, upbeat tunes. I always enjoy hearing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”, ACDC’s “Thunderstruck” & Black Eyed Peas “I Got a Feeling” & occasionally “The Chicken Song”. I get tired of hearing the same stuff that some don’t even know the words to. I always enjoy when a popular song is rewritten to fit a particular sports team. Maybe find someone local to write a catchy song about Kentucky Football…& let that song become one of “our” theme songs, definitely something better than Rocky Top off all things!

    More fan interaction…contests during the timeouts like they do at the Legends games, baseball games. Have a team of 4-5 people dressed silly, running around getting the fans excited like shooting hotdogs or T-shirts into the crowd; maybe not every game (may work best for early/afternoon games), allow the kids to come down to the field to run the length of the field, like at Reds games the kids are allowed to run the bases….of course after My Old Kentucky Home is played. What about a Scouts Recognition Day where the kids & leaders wear their scout uniform & are recognized on the field…could even receive a special gift upon entrance to the game like a wildcat beanie, coupon for something free at the concession stand or discount on apparel at merchandise stands.

    Most importantly, the BBN NEEDS to come show their support, good or bad, & stay until the end of the game! Yes, sometimes it’s hard, but think of how those guys, who have played hard look at the crowd at the end of the game & not see the fans. How the team must’ve felt that Vandy game when there were hardly any fans there to support them? I’m a firm believer of staying until the end. How many fans have left thinking we lost a game only to come back to win? I remember several games a few years back that had nail biting down to the last second finishes or OT endings. The one that comes to mind is the UK-LSU game that we won in 3OTs…the next day, those that left wished they had stayed…I’m glad I did! Still dreaming of the day that UK Football becomes something great…hoping it’ll be in my lifetime! GO CATS!!!

  55. Nettie Wilson

    Please stop First Down Kentucky – Use cheer I – I believe – I believe that – etc.

    We need positive cheers – First Downs are expected not cheered for.

  56. Greg

    Have the wildcat ride a horse out to lead the team on the field . He could come out on horse between 3rd and fourth quarter to music . I like blue out idea for Vandy game .

  57. MattP

    As a longtime season ticket holder and die hard UK fan, I want to share some thoughts on what would be significant upgrades to the gameday atmosphere at CWS. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit 11 out of the 14 SEC stadiums so I can say from experience that I’ve witnessed some great atmospheres. We need to develop our own traditions without question but picking up ideas from other programs isn’t a bad idea either.

    1. The Students need to be more involved. First of all, they need to show up to the games. I understand Friday nights can create long Saturday mornings for college kids but football season is a special time of year. 7 Saturdays a year, get out an support your team. UKAA should create a gimmick for students be it towels, pom poms, etc.

    2. My Old Kentucky Home should most certainly be played postgame and there is no need for Stars and Stripes forever and The National Anthem to be played. I love our nation and State but after the National Anthem, get to the pregame hype music.

    3. I’m also aware that advertisements are a big part of supporting our program. However, there has to be other ways than taking up half or our new big screen jumbotrons. Why even get the new screens a few years back if we aren’t going to utilize them? Use the Ribbon boards for advertisements.

    4. A 4th Quarter song is a must. I personally like Turn Down for what by Lil Jon. It doesn’t have many vocals but the beat and chorus would be ideal. It would get the fanbase up and on their feet for sure.

    5. The C-A-T-S chant is way too fast. Back in the day, the spelling was much more drawn out than now. Currently, it seems like they just want to get it over with. Myself and people that I have spoken to prefer the longer and more haunting spelling of CATS.

    6. We need a more prominent hall of fame area. Include statues of UK legends such as Bear Bryant, Rich Brooks, Tim Couch, Babe Parilli, George Blanda, etc.

    7. Speaking of Bear Bryant, we need to embrace the fact that the greatest coach in history coached at UK and even won a national championship (even though it was awarded 50 years later).

    8. I believe that academic achievers should be honored on the largest platform which is football games. However, the end of the 1st quarter is just not good timing. 20-30 minutes before the game or halftime would be much more appropriate. Nothing against the people or their achievements but it really brings down the football vibe that is going on. After the 1st Quarter, we need to focus on keeping the fanbase in the game instead of resting on their laurels. CWS needs to be rowdy, rude, and intimidating. As it stands now, CWS is boring and uneventful.

    9. The Music certainly needs to be upgraded. I understand that not everyone is going to agree on music but the atmosphere should be suited for the players first and foremost. Hip Hop and hard rock needs to be played more often.

    10. Finally, include more sound effects such as the Wildcat growl and Air Raid sirens.

  58. John G

    I realize the music discussion is set for next week but I wanted to throw this out there now. There is a new song out titled “Here Comes the Thunder” by Tim Hicks that would be great to play in key defensive situations – listen to the lyrics and you will see why. The use of the gong or bells or whatever you want to call them never seems to have worked to our benefit in the past – at least in the last 25 years of watching key defensive third downs. So, I would like to suggest we try something new. There is also an older Bryan Adams song “We’re Gonna Win” that has some great lyrics and music to get the fans excited and behind the Cats.

    1. Paul

      I love the gong but for the past two years we have given up the first down every time I remember except maybe one. Then, it stInks. If we can begin to stop anybody it would be great.

  59. James Van Over

    Regarding live singers for the National Anthem. I hope singers will be selected by audition and the performance will reflect the dignity and respect that the National Anthem deserves. Additionally, I hope that the playing of our State Anthem, “My Old Kentucky Home” during pre-game will continue to precede the National Anthem.

  60. Po

    When I first heard the Georgia band play just the notes associated with “meaner than a junkyard dog” whenever the team made a defensive stop I thought that was cool. What about using MOKH in a similar manner, after a good offensive play, the band could play a sped up version of just “the sun shines bright”, and for the defense, “weep no more”? Four notes and three notes respectively. Or, if you want to use “On On U of K”, pick out a few notes that would be appropriate.

  61. DACats86

    Always thought releasing a live wildcat before each game in the visitor’s section would liven things up a bit…

    Winning would cure a lot of the atmosphere “issues” at UK football games. Good to hear there are plans to use the video and ribbon boards more effectively.

  62. James

    Please, play this song AFTER the game. I’ve been to many football games and it takes all of the energy out of the stadium before the game. And I truly believe that it has a negative impact on how our players start the game. We always start slow and it is because this song deflates the stadium. Please, please play songs BEFORE the game with energy and the players and the fans will rock Commonwealth Stadium like never before. Go Big Blue!!

  63. Otis Cox

    After reading the comments above I have a couple of ideas to throw out there. I bleed blue and have all my life. I live and work in South Carolina and I am familiar with the traditions of USC, Clemson, UGA, and other schools. I like the idea of looking for new traditions for our football team. I have followed UK football for years First the music. Someone above had the Idae of ACDC Thunderstruck. I like that as a song to play for TD’s, big plays and the start of each half, a celebration song. My Old Kentucky Home immediatley at the end of the game. I know fans from Alabama, Mississippi Arkansas, as well as South Carolina and they all comment on hearing My Old Kentucky Home at the end of basketball games. They think it is awesome and love the tradition. There are comments about the big screen and live animals. I have not been to CWS in a long while, I hope to get back to CWS one day soon. I watch every game on TV that I can get no matter what I have to do. From what I see of the screens and what I have seen in other stadiums I think a HD video of a live wildcat snarling with the snarling sound pumping through the stadium would be cool right after the Thunderstruck music. The main thing to me though is the team. The whole thing has to a celebration of the team…. Big Blue First! The whole idea is for them to feel the love and feed off of it. That is my 2 cents.

  64. Jason

    With regards to MOKH – PLEASE, only play it once. The song is so slow that it brings the hype level down. In front of the student section (if they would stay) could be special at the end of the game. I always stay the whole game, win or lose, so it’s not that I won’t hear it; maybe others should too if they want to hear it so bad. However, it’s completely unnecessary to play it twice! And for those who say playing MOKH is a tradition, don’t claim to be such a “longtime loyal” fan – if you are, you’d know that it has NOT always been played!

    Definitely do away with “FIRST DOOOOOOOWN KENTUCKY”! As plenty of people have said, doing that EVERY SINGLE TIME is too much. The wildcat scrowl seems to be well liked. Maybe use that most of the time and have something special for big first downs.

    We definitly need something to make the crown loud on defensive 3rd downs! Better use of the video boards at that point could make a big difference. And speaking of video boards, people are right – take the ads off majority of the time and make better use of them.

    As for the music, give the team a say! If they like it, it will help get them amped up, and that will cause a domino effect to the fans as well. I don’t like rap at all, but when it has been played on occasion and you see it amp up some of the players, it has raised my spirit with theirs. Music can change the whole attitude in the stadium; think about how you drive down the interestate faster listening to something that’s really rocking.

    I know parking will be addressed later, but has anyone ever given any thought to a parking garage where the media lot has been the past few years? It wouldn’t be ideal for tailgating, but there are plenty of people who come to the games and don’t tailgate (and more might buy tickets if they didn’t have to get there 3-4 hours before the game to be able to park). It could allow those people to move out of the open lots and free up more room for tailgaters. UK is landlocked; do the same thing you have elsewhere on campus and if you can’t build out, build UP!

  65. Tana

    Suggestion: try out many of the excellent ideas shared above and below and then keep the ones that go over well, and those will likely become traditions.

    Goal: to give our Wildcats the home field advantage they deserve.

    Key: to get fans FIRED UP, in turn inspiring players and positively affecting their play — plus disrupting our opponents’ offenses with our LOUD, INTIMIDATING NOISE. Coach Rich Brooks had wanted our fans to be ROWDY and CRAZY, and so do I! Ask any Kentucky player on the 2008 team with the comeback win over Arkansas how much difference fans can make — how extremely loud and inspirational the small number of us who had remained in the stadium had been to them.

    Key words to remember as ideas are selected to use on game day: ENERGY and ENTHUSIASM for the fans and players (and those guys are the ones that really matter — to me we fans are there to help them!).

    Favorites from what I have read here and how I had already felt follow:

    1. Better utilize those big screens! I saw in Oxford how those could be so helpful to a team and program, especially using former players, big and close-up, talking to its fans. Like others, I have been very disappointed that the whole screen is not being used — yes, please, advertisements be moved to the ribbon boards. Our big screens have SO MUCH potential for the atmosphere and program!

    2. If MOKH is still played prior to the game, yes, go almost immediately to the pre-entrance bugle, sirens, fireworks — an effective contrast and no chance for that “downer” effect some are seemingly fearing. Plus, yes, use that loud, screeching wildcat here — and frequently throughout the game! I love the idea of frequently using a video of a live wildcat, too.

    3. As a former teacher, I want academic achievements to be honored, but I strongly agree that should be prior to the game or during halftime. Our enthusiasm is often squelched by those announcements.

    4. Our fans are virtually DEAD right after halftime. I have witnessed other stadium’s fans’ standing and loudly cheering their team regardless of the score at the time. We need to come up with something that makes us very involved at that time. Maybe our cheerleaders and band members could come up with an idea to encourage that. Perhaps some music for the fans, such as singing and clapping to the “Happy” song or the “We are Kentucky” one. Let the video cameras capture involved fans on the screen and more and more will get involved, based on human nature.

    5. Perhaps let the players chime in on what to use between the third and fourth quarters. Use noise and the video boards and many of the ideas presented by all these fans. Use the Wildcat screech, for sure! It must get LOUD and WILD!!!

    6. “First down Kentucky” is enthusiastic and must be kept! It should be followed every time, though, by the “QUIET: Men at work on offense” video board message (educating our fans).

    7. The gong needs to be heard to alert fans that we are on defense and the players need our help. “Defense” chants on first two downs, plus “Make Noise” messages on the video board for EVERY third down (with no slip-ups, no omissions) — and then we go crazy with noise. I love the idea of cheerleaders’ leading a “battle clap” with the whole stadium participating, plus the constant noise when we are defending within the redbone. Zero in on fans’ being appropriately involved and others will likely follow. We MUST be LOUD on defensive stances! I do. to guess it is possible, but I would love for our video screen to alert fans when our opponent’s clock is running down so we would get louder and louder as their seconds tick away — false starts and delay of games can result, something I saw Gamecock fans execute perfectly.

    8. Brad had a couple of really good ideas. One had been to show highlights of the Cat Walk during the pregame, perhaps firing up fans and getting more to show up for the walk. Another had been to have a large statue of a wildcat for players to touch, enthusiastically, at the end of the Cat Walk — or perhaps as they enter the stadium. I would love for the players themselves to come up with a new tradition.

    9. If showing the sideline’s getting fired up and trying to get fans involved is permissible, that would be MOST effective (and, yes, using the whole screen).

    10. Confiscate beach balls and discourage the wave by coming up with something better on the video screen (distract — and help fans get back to watching the game and respecting our team).

    I apologize for the length — it does not remotely compare to the depth of my love for our football Cats, though! GO CATS!!!

  66. Kim R.

    As a double alumni, lifelong fan, and 10+ year seaon ticket holder, I would recommend the following:
    1. Have a horse lead the wildcat mascot out onto the field and circle the field with flags.(involve equine history)
    2. C-A-T-S cheer be fast or slower but cut it to only two times. Third time is overkill and looses it’s enthusiasm and intensity.
    3. Do 7 min cheerleader spinning pyramid with crowd standing in time between 3and 4th quarter.
    4. During all kickoffs including after scores, have crowd chant “GOOOOOOOO WILDCATS” WITH ARM SPINNING IN THE AIR THEN POINTING #1 WHEN YELLING WILCATS.
    5. Have part of band or separate pep band rotate to different sections in stadium.
    6. Have theme days…blue outs, hat days, etc.
    7. On jumbo tron, have former past famous UK athletes send out messeges, cheers, dances to pump up crowd.
    8. Continue ringing bell on 4th down when on defence.
    9. Continue 1st down chant.
    10. Sing My Old Ky Home with band, cheerleaders, dancers, team, coaches BEFORE the exciting entrance…nostalgia then build excitement.
    11. When tv time outs, have dance contests between different stadium sections.
    12. Loud arena rock /hiphop music played during downtimes.

  67. Marc K

    Bring back Marcus McClinton and “We Believe” that had the crowd jacked more than anything I’ve seen in 30 years of CWS.

  68. Tana

    Marc K, I could not agree more in regard to bringing back Marcus McClinton and “We believe.” Also, like Kim R was saying, former players’ appearing on that jumbotron is huge. That would really fire up us fans, adding that important energy to the atmosphere. To me, that would be the best improvement. In addition, I forgot to mention the possibility of the current players’ developing an inspirational song/video themselves (and I apologize for not proofreading that previous post).

  69. Greg

    Hire Old School Rocker Ted Nugent for one game and have him dressed in blue camoflage playing CAT Scratch Fever .


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