Good friend Luke, who I have known since my rookie year of Valleyfair in 2002, is getting married in October! Hooray Luke! Luke and I worked together only that one summer, but stayed in close touch over the years. After graduating college and moving to the Twin Cities full-time in late 2005, Luke would be introduced to a couple of my fellow DSU friends who also made the move to the Minneapolis area—Nick and Walsh—and they too became great friends. Luke named the three of us to his wedding party, and we quickly began talking about bachelor party plans.

At first, Luke assumed we would choose either Minneapolis or his current city of Des Moines. But then we started talking and thought maybe somewhere random would be more fun. Evansville, Indiana quickly emerged as the most random city possible, but upon some light investigation it was determined we wouldn’t have much fun there. At that point, the groomsmen decided we would cut the groom out of the conversation and just make it a surprise! After about five minutes of deliberations, we landed on Louisville, Kentucky.

Why Louisville? For starters, it was near Evansville. It also was somewhere moderately central to those of us traveling from Minnesota, Iowa and Texas. There were also a lot of cool bachelor sounding things to do. So, we set plans in motion.

At the time, I had not foreseen any other major fall travels. Of course, I was wrong. The road trip soon emerged, work trips to Tulsa, the wedding in Iowa itself, and potential conferences in Boston and Las Vegas entered my schedule. Lauren was suddenly thrown into the gauntlet of multiple episodes of solo parenting duty. But, the tickets were booked and there was no turning back!

Thursday around noon, I flew from Austin to Atlanta and then on to Louisville. The other guys had Luke drive up to Minneapolis from Iowa, still totally clueless where he was about to travel. Walsh did such a good job keeping it a secret that Luke still had no idea where he was heading even after going through security! Nick and Walsh led Luke to various gates until finally stopping at the Louisville gate.

On night 1, we checked into the Airbnb house and explored the local bar scene. The second day was a very full slate of exploring. We ate breakfast at a local diner, then headed to the Louisville Slugger bat factory and museum. I certainly had myself in mind over Luke’s interests here, but we all had a great time—a must-do if ever in the area! Next, we did the bourbon tour at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, a very interesting and interactive history lesson with a tasting. Then it was on to a local escape room, where we had an hour to unlock mysterious clues and save the world from an asteroid. We were among the less than 10% to complete it, we were told! At night we had some local BBQ and then wandered the streets for miles looking for some fun.

The third day was largely spent at the famous Churchill Downs, site of the Kentucky Derby. It wasn’t the Derby that day, but there were a dozen other races going on. If you’re thinking “how much fun could horse racing possibly be?”, well, it was a blast! We had our fair share of mint juleps, gambled on every race, mingled with the crowd, and explored the sacred grounds. Of 50+ bets placed, the ONLY ONE anyone won anything on was one where I asked Johnny to pick a horse. Half of the group went to bed after dinner at an Italian restaurant while half went back out for drinks.

While the rest of the crew hung around town Sunday to watch the Vikings game at the local Louisville fan club, I was up at 5am to fly home and relieve Lauren from her duties. Now I will rest for a couple weeks and then turn around and fly up to Iowa for the actual wedding! I have to go solo, as it would be too expensive to fly the family up.

All told, Louisville was an awesome time, and of course spending time with some friends I seldom get to see was very nice. I hope Luke got his boy time out of his system and can focus all his attention on his bride-to-be! I give the city high ratings! It is the twelfth largest city in the country, surprisingly. If I were to do it again, I’d do the full Bourbon Trail and definitely explore some of the scenery outside the city.

Enjoy some select photos!