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Derby Festival announces 2018 Royal Court

From left to right: Caroline Will, Logan Howard, Tara Dunaway, Morgan Redmond and Katie Bouchard.
From left to right: Caroline Will, Logan Howard, Tara Dunaway, Morgan Redmond and Katie Bouchard.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Jan. 9, 2018) — A sign of spring in Kentuckiana, new Derby Festival Royalty was named this morning. The five women selected to serve as Princesses in the 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival Royal Court were introduced in a ceremony at Macy’s at Oxmoor Center.

The Royal Court Program is coordinated by The Fillies, Inc., a volunteer group that works closely with the Festival. Fillies President Glenda Thome joined KDF President and CEO Mike Berry, as well as 2018 Derby Festival Chair Scott Watkins, in crowning the newly appointed court.

The Royal Court:

Katie Bouchard of Owensboro, Ky. — Katie, 22, is a senior at Western Kentucky University majoring in social work. She is a Kentucky Colonel, on the WKU Dean’s List and received the WKU College of Health and Human Services Outstanding Academic Achievement Award. Katie is the youngest board member of Cinderella’s Closet of Western Kentucky, a charity which provides formal wear to girls who could not otherwise afford to attend prom. Katie is also trained in the Kentucky State Dance of clogging.

Tara Dunaway of Leitchfield, Ky. — Tara, 21, is a junior at the University of Louisville majoring in business marketing with a minor in management. She is a College of Business Student Council Member and serves as the chairman of Outreach, has been named to the Dean’s List multiple times, and has studied in numerous countries including England and Austria. Tara also volunteers at Portland Elementary and has participated in mission trips to Central America.

Logan Howard of Louisville, Ky. — Logan, 21, is a senior at the University of Kentucky majoring in business marketing. She is a William C. Parker Scholar, 100 Black Men of America Scholar, undergraduate senator-at-large for the Student Government Association and membership intake process chair of the Iota Sigma Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Logan also volunteers with high school students as a student mentor and tutor as well as the non-profit organization Best Buddies Kentucky.

Morgan A. Redmond of Louisville, Ky. — Morgan, 21, is a senior studying public policy at the University of Chicago. She is a Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholar, has been named to the Dean’s List for three consecutive years, and is a member of the Maroon Key Society, the college’s honorary society. She has been active in her community in Louisville through the Lighthouse Academy at Newburg and in Chicago through the Neighborhood Schools Program and Dream Outside the Box.

Caroline Will of Louisville, Ky. — Caroline, 22, is a senior at the University of Kentucky majoring in economics and French with a minor in international business. She is a Global Scholars Honor Council Member, president of the Economics Society and Beta Gamma Sigma, and a Gatton College of Business and Economics peer instructor. Caroline is a team captain for DanceBlue, a student-run organization at UK that fundraises to help patients and families affected by childhood cancer.

Nicole Smith of Louisville, Ky., a junior at the University of Louisville, was chosen as the first alternate. She will become Princesses if one of the other women is unable to serve.

These five will act as ambassadors for the 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival, attending nearly 70 events over a two-week period. They were selected Saturday, Jan. 6, after attending final judging with 30 other finalist candidates. There were more than 130 original applicants for the Royal Court Program, representing 21 different colleges and universities from all over Kentucky, as well as Indiana, Illinois and Alabama. All the applicants went through preliminary judging in November.

One of the five will be crowned the Derby Festival Queen by a spin-of-the-wheel at the annual Fillies Derby Ball on April 14 at the Galt House. Each woman will receive a $2,000 scholarship ($1,000 from the Fillies and $1,000 from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation).

Candidates for the Princess Program must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade-point average and are selected by a panel of three out-of-state judges. Criteria for selection includes knowledge of the Derby Festival, poise, intelligence, personality and campus and community involvement. The first Derby Festival Princess was crowned in 1957, the second year of the Festival. Previous princesses have included former Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins and the late Gail Gorski, the first female pilot ever hired by United Airlines.