Home » SportsCenter’s Kenny Mayne to kick off Derby Festival’s main event

SportsCenter’s Kenny Mayne to kick off Derby Festival’s main event

2016 marks the 60th They’re Off! Luncheon

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 18, 2016) — This year’s Kentucky Derby Festival kick-off luncheon is sure to be “The Mayne Event” with ESPN’S Kenny Mayne as the featured speaker. Mayne, SportsCenter anchor and feature reporter, will address approximately 1,500 Derby Festival supporters and patrons in attendance at the 60th Annual They’re Off! Luncheon on Friday, April 22. The They’re Off! Luncheon, first held in 1957, serves as the time-honored kick-off to each year’s Festival. It’s the second-oldest event on the Festival schedule, just behind the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade.

Kenny Mayne
Kenny Mayne

“We couldn’t be more excited to have Kenny Mayne speak at our main event,” said Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO. “He’s already danced with the stars and called a horse race, helping kick-off the Derby Festival seems like a natural next step.”

Kenny Mayne, who joined ESPN in May 1994, is a guest anchor on the 1 a.m. SportsCenter from Los Angeles and a contributor to the midnight SportsCenter hosted by Scott Van Pelt. He also is a feature reporter for SportsCenter. In his work as an anchor and reporter, Mayne has become well known for his offbeat style, dry humor, and unique sayings (“thanks for having electricity”) and home run calls (“I am amused by the simplicity of this game!”).  Although he stands out in the studio – his most prominent roles have been on SportsCenter, the former ESPN2 motorsports show, rpm2night and hosting both seasons of the sports trivia game show 2-Minute Drill. His popular “The Mayne Event” segments on Sunday NFL Countdown highlighted his creativity and deadpan delivery that has distinguished his career’s work. A native of Kent, Washington, Mayne attended Wenatchee Valley Community College, where he was an honorable mention junior college All-American quarterback in 1978. He graduated from University of Nevada-Las Vegas in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcasting.  While at UNLV, Mayne played football for two years and later signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks. In 2006, he competed on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.

The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Galt House East Hotel – site of the festive event since 1974. This year’s event will also feature the presentation of the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Active Heroes Volunteer of the Year Award and the Fifth Third Bank Silver Horseshoe Award for service to the community Tickets are $85 each or $680 for a table of eight. To purchase tickets or to get additional information, please call (502) 584-FEST or visit KDF.org.

Mayne joins Dick Vitale, Terry Bradshaw, Jay Bilas, Bill Walton, Archie Manning, Greg Gumbel, Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, Larry King, Bob Costas, Robin Roberts, Cawood Ledford, Phil Simms and Howard Cosell in a long list of luminaries who have entertained They’re Off! Luncheon audiences for the past 59 years.

Contributing sponsors for the event are Active Heroes, Fifth Third Bank and Kentucky Proud with Media Sponsor Business First.

Since 1956, the Derby Festival has worked to bring the community together in celebration. The Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.