Local couple wins trip to Kentucky Derby

Amid mint juleps and fabulous hats, a couple from Elkins got to enjoy the world-famous Kentucky Derby in high style this weekend – and they even had a winning bet.

Crystal Gibson and her husband Rod won a trip to see the Kentucky Derby through her job with Elkins Distributing Inc. The local business won an Anheuser Busch promotion and topped dozens of other companies in six states to win the trip for two, which the Gibsons were able to enjoy.

“It’s a big deal, because we were up against probably at least 70 other wholesalers – so we were very proud we performed very well on the Bud Light incentive,” she said in a phone interview Monday.

Visiting the Kentucky Derby always had been one of her dreams, Gibson said -something that was on her “bucket list” of things to do in life.

She and her husband left Thursday for the trip to Louisville, Ky., and they attended the horse races Friday and Saturday at the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby. Their lodging and expenses were paid for as part of the trip, and Gibson said they enjoyed great food and beverages both days, as well as nice seats.

“It was fantastic,” she said. “It was so fun, because you see the pictures of the people with the hats and the dresses, and everybody dresses like that. It’s not just a few people, it’s everybody.”

Gibson wore a black and white striped dress Friday, with a fancy hat that was created for her by Jo Jo Pennington, the owner of Jo Jo’s Floral in Elkins.

“Jo Jo put ribbons on it and made it ‘derby fabulous,'” she said, adding Friday’s theme was to incorporate pink in honor of the official flower of the Oaks, the stargazer lily, so her hat had black and pink ribbons.

On Saturday, she wore an orange dress with a matching hat that she ordered online. Her husband wore ties to match her outfits -a pink one Friday and an orange one Saturday.

“He doesn’t like to dress up too much, but he was a good sport,” Gibson said.

She added one of the highlights was her husband’s winning bet on Orb, the horse that earned a decisive 2 1/2-length victory in Derby 139.

She wasn’t sure exactly how much money her husband won, but it was enough to cover their other losing bets.

“We didn’t lose any money,” she said.

Overall, she said the experience is something she’ll never forget.

“It was just really neat. There was a really fun atmosphere,” Gibson said. “We had a really great time.”