Why did they build the bridge between Evansville and Henderson? So Kentuckians can swim across in the shade. Not to be outdone, the editor of the Henderson Gleaner publishes a Hoosier joke every week. It is all in fun till someone gets hurt.
Indiana knows about injury. In 1997, Indiana went to class basketball. Before then, the high school basketball tournament was legendary. All schools, big and small, played for one title. The championship game was carried on ESPN every year and the movie Hoosiers was based on a small school that conquered the giants. Hoosier Hysteria was known from sea to sea. Now? There are four classes of high school basketball, four state champions and exactly four people who actually care about Indiana high school basketball. My friends in Kentucky were quick to jump, "I knew you hoosiers were stupid, but not THAT stupid."
Fast forward to 2009. Kentuckians get their comeuppance. As basketball is/was to Indiana, horse racing is to Kentucky. Because of river boat and other casinos in the area, horse race wagering has been down in the commonwealth. The solution? Expand the betting experience at these tracks, to include slot machines or even video poker.
So, the governor and the legislature got to work. They aren't going to let the "Sport of Kings" die out in the bluegrass state, are they? Yes they are. Every measure has been defeated in the legislature by one party (guess which one).
This isn't about gambling. It is about history, tradition and an institution. It is about hoosier hysteria Kentucky style.
So far the fallout has been that Ellis Park in Henderson is announcing that this is its last season after 80-some odd years as a cultural and economic staple. Even major players like Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, are taking a hits over it. Some major players are moving their operations to other states. The eight horse tracks in Kentucky will be fewer. Ellis Park is the first to announce, but probably not the last.
So, now hoosiers get their chance to laugh at the stupid Kentuckians. However, no one on either side of the river seems to find it funny.