LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Hundreds of people showed up early this morning to get their 2014 Maker's Mark bottle signed. Dozens of them even camped out overnight.
"It's pretty neat to be up here in the front of the line," says Alonzo Shirley, who's been first in line at these bottle signings for the last seven years. "I got here at 5:00 Thursday morning. So, I've been here a long time. I'm getting tired and ready to go home."
Alonzo Shirley may have been first in line to get his 2014 Maker's Mark bottle signed, but many others had a long way to go. The line wrapped all around the Grandstand at Keeneland early Friday morning. Tickets for the signing were given out Thursday at 10:00 p.m., so many people ended up staying the night, but didn't exactly get any shut-eye.
"Very little. Not much at all. No," says Steve McElroy, who camped out at Keeneland overnight. "Probably less than 30 minutes to be honest with you. On a bench, at that."
This year's commemorative bottle features University of Kentucky football coach, Mark Stoops. Starting at 5:30 Friday morning, he signed bottles alongside Maker's Mark COO Rob Samuels and Chairman Bill Samuels, as well Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason.
"You know, a lot of people stood out in line for a long time. A lot of Kentucky fans, a lot of Makers fans, a lot of Keeneland fans," says Mark Stoops, University of Kentucky football coach. "I was honored that Keeneland and Makers asked me to be on the bottle. I don't know how many times I'll get an opportunity to do this, so it's a real thrill for me."
It's also an opportunity that's somewhat unique to Kentucky and one that's become a tradition for many.
"I used to collect a lot of Maker's Mark bottles and now I just collect Maker's Kentucky bottles," says McElroy. "It's a good collection. It's just fun."
"Well, I have to continue the tradition, you know what I'm saying? I've got them now, so I can't stop," Shirley says.
A total of 1,200 tickets were available to attend Friday morning's bottle signing.