Most of the year I don't give a second thought to horses. When I see a huge hat and smell mint juleps though, it all comes back to me. It's Kentucky Derby time!

I enjoy watching these horse races. While I don't keep up with the races during the rest of the year, I like to turn on the television and watch the race. I also love tuning in to see those absolutely wild hats.

Mike Coppola

This year, I'll be paying some extra attention to the festivities though. After some deep diving, I found out that Iowa has a really interesting connection to the elite race.

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Iowa has had quite a few horses compete in the Kentucky Derby over the years. In 2010, Paddy O'Prado ran in the race and during the very last Derby two horses raised in Iowa galloped to Churchill Downs.

While these Iowa horses may come and go, one notable staple of the race actually called the Hawkeye State Home.

Kentucky Derby

On May 1st, as the horses race at the 147th Kentucky Derby, Steve Buttleman will be resting his chops. Buttleman has been playing the bugle at the race for almost 30 years. 2021 will mark his 26th year of being Churchill Downs' official bugler.

Before every horse race at the track, Buttleman plays the "call to the post" and ushers in the 'most exciting 2 minutes in sports.'

As originally reported in the Gazette, Buttleman is a Cedar Rapids native. After graduating from Cedar Rapids Washington high school in 1983 he moved to Kentucky and studied at the University of Louisville. He is the official bugler of the Kentucky Derby. On average, he plays at anywhere between nine and twelve races a day at the iconic track.

When he's not playing at this iconic race track, he's participating in charitable events and promoting Kentucky tourism with the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Kentucky Derby

Buttleman has been the bugler here since 1995, and from the looks of things he'll be here for many years. You're making Iowa proud, Steve!

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