Showing their UK spirit

Kentucky farmers
recruited to paint barns

UK Athletics to choose one barn per county

By Don Ward

(November 2003) – Showing your school spirit is a commonly heard refrain each year around fall football season, but Bob and Joann Hoskins of Bedford, Ky., and Harold and Barbara Stethen of Carrollton, Ky., this year took it to a new level.

UK barn

Photo by Don Ward

Bob Hoskins' barn on Hwy. 42.

The two families volunteered to have the sides of their barns painted to promote University of Kentucky sports. The “UK-Go Big Blue” designs now adorn their barns, which each sit strategically along Hwy. 42 in their respective counties.
They were two of eight barns and silos so painted in the last few months as part of a statewide program, called “Barn-Storming Cats,” launched by the UK athletic department, according to UK Athletics assistant marketing director Kristen Branscum.
“When the signs first went up, a lot of people would honk their horns as they drove by,” said Barbara Stethen, whose son, Mike, and daughter-in-law, Angela, are UK graduates.
The Stethens responded to a story they saw in a local newspaper about the UK program to get their barn in the program. Branscum said she was driving to see a different barn in Trimble County when she passed the Hoskins’ barn, which sits practically on the highway about four miles south of Bedford. When the first Trimble family opted not to participate, Branscum left a letter on the Hoskins’ doorstep asking if they would be interested.

Harold Stethen

Photo courtesy of UK

Harold and Barbara Stethen & family at UK.

“I called her back and agreed to do it. I think it looks pretty good for an old barn,” said Bob Hoskins, whose oldest son, Bobby, earned a master’s degree at UK.
One of his daughters, Laurel, however, works for the University of Louisville. “I don’t think (UK) wants us to promote that,” he quipped.
The barns are being painted by noted sign artist Jack Prather, whose company, Econo Signs, is based in Nicholasville, Ky. Prather is known for his country music star portraits on billboards around Lexington for a radio station’s ad campaign.
He’ll likely paint all the barns for UK, Branscum said. “He’s already got the pattern down, now,” she said.
The school plans to paint only one barn per county, in hopes of doing one in all 120 Kentucky counties. Other counties completed this year were Russell, Scott, Owsley, Morgan, Boyle and Bracken.
There was no cost involved to the families, and UK pledges to maintain the barns in the years ahead, with touch-ups, when necessary. As an added perk, the families have been invited to attend a UK football and basketball game this season as guests of the university, complete with autographed footballs and basketballs, and dinner on UK.
The Stethens were recognized at halftime of the Oct. 18 homecoming football game; the Hoskins were recognized at halftime of the Oct. 25 football game.

• For more information on the program, including all barn photos, visit: www.ukathletics.com.



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