For this installment I’m going to discuss the area of Kentucky where I grew up. I recently went back to hit some of the tourist attractions in the area, and do some training while visiting family. As for the training, I went to Georgetown MMA in Georgetown, KY. Whenever I’m in town I try to at least stop by, as this is one of my favorite gyms to train at.
Georgetown MMA is an average size gym that is an affiliate of the American Killer Bees Association. Adam Gomez is the head coach/trainer and is a brown belt under Israel Gomez. Adam, originally from California, has been training BJJ for 15 years and has competed, and won, numerous competitions. Aside from all of his BJJ accomplishment, he is (put plainly) a really good guy. He is always there for his students, willing to help them in any way possible, and providing the family atmosphere, which is what makes this gym so great. The gym offers an excellent kids program, gi and nogi jiu jitsu, MMA, yoga, and general fitness classes. They also offer kids camps in the summer as well as anti-bullying classes for school aged children. I feel compelled to mention his son, Isiah, is probably one the most talented young jiu jitsu practitioners I have met.
Now that I’ve covered the gym, lets get into some of the places I visited while in the area. First was Big Bone Lick State Park; located in Big Bone in Boone County, KY. The name of the park comes from the mammoth bones found there. Mammoths, along with giant sloths, bison, and horses were drawn to the area by a salt lick deposited by sulphur springs. Many animals that came to the area for food, found themselves stuck in the soft and marshy area around the springs. This area has been dubbed the birthplace of American Paleonthology, which dates from an 1807 expedition by William H. Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame). Today, there is a fairly large heard of Bison that live and are cared for on the grounds; there are many hiking trails and viewing areas to see the Bison.
Next, we went to the Noah’s Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY. The Ark Encounter is a religious theme park, which centers on a full-scale model of Noah’s Ark from the Genesis chapter of the Bible. It sits at 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high. The theme park is focused on a creationist belief system and is owned by the same company that runs the Creation Museum just 45 miles to the north. I have to say, I am not a religious person, but the ark is truly an engineering marvel to me. Walking through the ark I was mesmerized by the eight posts that run from bottom to top, all the same width and harvested from already downed trees found in the wilderness (so they say). A group of Amish builders worked day and night to construct the gigantic boat. In my mind, it’s truly a marvel, religious connotation aside.
Kentucky is famous for a few things: horses, bluegrass, and bourbon. The bourbon trail, which runs through the state, offers the public with tours of some of the best bourbon facilities there is, and is a program sponsored by the Kentucky Distiller’s Association. Sites along the tour include the Maker’s Mark distillery, Evan Williams, Four Rose’s, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, and Woodford Reserve. Not only do you get to tour the facilities, but also most offer a free tasting before you leave, you must be over 21 obviously.
If bourbon, or religious theme parks aren’t your thing, perhaps a visit to the Kentucky Horse Park will suit you. My kids really enjoyed this place. The park is a working horse farm and educational theme park located just north of Lexington. The kids really enjoyed the Kids barn and the “Horses of the World” show that is held twice daily, which showcase both common and rare horses from around the world. The park also has the International Museum of the Horse, which my wife seemed to be quite fond of.
If you find yourself travelling through the area, check out some of the spots. I am fairly certain, the people at Georgetown MMA would be happy to have you on the matts.