Whether you are a fan of horse racing or not, every Kentuckian knows this weekend is Derby weekend. The Kentucky Derby is a tradition the Commonwealth is known for and proudly embraces, with over-the-top Derby attire, mint juleps and cheering for your favorite thoroughbred — whether it was chosen for its race odds or unique name.
Another Derby tradition is the Kentucky Derby Festival Royal Court. Each year, the Royal Court begins with more than 100 applicants. Then, 30 finalists are selected. Finally, five young women are selected as the Royal Court Princesses. These young women represent the Kentucky Derby Festival and the city of Louisville as official ambassadors for the springtime tradition of the Festival. Over the two-week period, they attend nearly 70 events.
Owensboro’s own, Katie Bouchard, was selected as a 2018 Derby Princess. Katie is a 2014 graduate of Daviess County High School and is currently a senior at Western Kentucky University where she is majoring in social work. Owensboro Living sat down with Katie and found out more about her role as Derby Princess and her background in pageants.
What got you started in pageants? What is your favorite part?
I’ve always had the dream of becoming Miss Kentucky. When I was in elementary school I would dress up as Miss Kentucky for career day. I grew up always know I wanted to compete in pageants and started when I was 13 years old. I’ve won a variety of local, state and national titles throughout my pageant career. I was Miss Daviess County in 2013 which was amazing to represent my home town. This will be my third time competing for Miss Kentucky which im hoping 3rd times the charm. I placed top 10 at Miss Kentucky last year which was amazing.
Is it ever hard to find balance between pageants and school/life?
I have to have my calendar with me at all times it’s something I can’t live without. Im always on the road which keeps me busy with going to events, doing homework and spending time with family and friends. The main thing is just staying organized and focused on what’s important.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I would have to say becoming a Kentucky Colonel through my hard work and dedication with my platform.
What engagements do you participate in as a part of your titles?
Being a part of the 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival Royal Court is a once in a life time experience. We are ambassadors for the city of Louisville and the Kentucky Derby Festival. We will attend over 70 event including the Kentucky Derby Festival, Oaks and The Kentucky Derby.
Have you seen support from your hometown?
Owensboro is special to me and will forever call it home. I have been so surprised by the amount of people that take the time to congratulate me and show support on all the crazy journeys I take. I love living in Owensboro and I am forever grateful for all the love and support from my community.
What does the future look like for you?
I will be graduating in May with a degree in social work. I am planning on getting a job as a family resource center coordinator within the school systems. I will be competing for the title of Miss Kentucky on June 30 and hoping that I can bring the title back to Owensboro.