WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | News

Documentary fuels fans' passion for rivalry game

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - In Kentucky, you don't need many reminders about the importance of this weekend.

"Some of the fans don't care if they win a championship, just as long as they win this game," explained Wade Smith, producer of "Red V. Blue."

The documentary takes a close look at the history and the rivalry of the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky. The longtime project by two Kentucky natives premiered at the Lexington Opera House Friday evening, just before the big matchup on Saturday.

"Definitely, you're either a Cardinals fan or you're a Wildcats fan. If you're not, if you hedge your bets and you're on the fence, that gets you in worse trouble I think," said the film's director, Rory Owen Delaney.

So the red and blue faithful filled the seats waiting to see the premiere. A quick glance around the room and there was more blue than red to be found. Russ Hensley, one of the Cardinal fans in attendance, took pride in being a rare supporter.

"I mean I'm glad I am here representing the Cardinals. Unlike Kentucky we have a football team to support this time of year," he laughed.

The trash talking flows easily in this rivalry, as evident by Hensley's joke, and who you pull for can run deeper than even family ties.

"As you can see my brother is sitting here beside me, and he's got a UK shirt on. That kind of represents what goes on here in Kentucky," pointed out Hensley.

"I think Mom and Dad might have dropped him on his head when he was little or something," scoffed Dusty Hensley.

The rivalry runs so deep, students are camping out for days just to get good seats for the game.

"It's my first Louisville game since I've been in college," said UK sophomore Nolan Slinker, "it's the greatest tradition in college basketball."

"It's Louisville hate week," added fellow camper, Chris Rose, "the hate and passion for Louisville just bubbles with the cold."

When it comes to the "Big Game" everyone's got a say in the matter because that's the way this game is, and that's the way this rivalry will always be.

"I'm going to say Julius Randle hits the game winning shot," projected Slinker.

"Cats are going to win it 85-72," boasted Rose.

"I'm going to say my Cards by five," grinned Russ Hensley.

Dusty went the other way, "I'm going to say Cats by five."

"I've got the Cardinals by nine," predicted Delaney.

"What did I have? UK by eight or 12? Eight. That'll work," said Smith.


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