The land that is now known as Kentucky was once part of Virginia, as West Virginia. On June 1st, 1792, Kentucky was separated from Virginia and became the 15th state of the Union with Isaac Shelby as Governor.
So, the year 1992 held special significance for the Commonwealth of Kentucky – it was officially 200 years old. Celebrations were planned years in advance and a year-long birthday party of the century was upon us.
Being a photographer of sorts, I wanted to do my part by documenting the celebrations on film. Thousands of events were planned for the Commonwealth in 1992, from small pioneer family reunions to huge Civil War reenactments, and from the raucous Hillbilly Days in Pikeville to the grand Kentucky Derby. Weekend photo trips around the state were required just to get a sampling of the unique events. Chance meetings of a movie star, a Derby winner, a Miss America, and. U.S. President were unexpected benefits to the 7,000-mile Kentucky tour. People were drawn from the hills to the cities and from the cities to the hills. Kentuckians have a great mixture of lifestyles, and the Bicentennial was the spoon stirring the pot.