Who We Are
The Derby Parrot Heads are a group of fun-loving individuals who meet regularly to celebrate life. We enjoy the tropics, the sun, and the music of the tropics. And just because we’re parrot heads doesn’t mean we’re just a Jimmy Buffett fan club. In fact, there are a couple of us that couldn’t even sing some of Jimmy’s songs.(And a lot of us who just plain can’t sing!)
Also, as you’ll notice throughout our site, we volunteer our time and money in many different areas of the community. While we like to have fun, we also want to help others live a little better as well.
As for our members, we range from college students just discovering that Carribean soul to the professional type who are just trying to blow off a little steam.
We meet on the first Thursday of the month at 6:30pm at Senor Iguanas in Central Station by UofL.
To make us official, we are sanctioned by the national Parrot Heads In Paradise. We’re also a listed as a non-profit social organization by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Our club is run by a Board of Directors with much of the work being directed to our committees (Entertainment, Fund-Raising, Communications, Membership, and Charitable Giving).
We’re glad you stopped by. Turn on some Buffett tunes and kick back while you travel around our site.
How we began
Our parrot head club began in the same way that we’d like to think many Buffett songs have — on a beach in Key West, after a few cold cervezas, kicking back and wondering why we should ever go home.
Ron Wilder, Joe Schiess and Angie Mullins were down-island for our semi-annual homage to the tropics, when Joe started talking about getting everyone together for a party. Not just any party, but a monthly party where we’d celebrate the sand, sun and surf—a Buffett party. They kicked it about for a while, wondered who they’d invite, what they’d do, and where they’d have it. And then, like so many other great ideas in our lives, they forgot about it. After all, we were in Key West and there were more pressing things to do. And at the time, Kentucky was just a cold, wintry memory.
Back in Louisville, the thoughts remained dormant for a few months, until spring began bringing life back to the area. They then talked about it a bit, and began planning our first event.
For the location, they talked with the manager of Rumors, a place that can best be described as the closest thing Louisville has to Eat It Raw. Reluctantly, she agreed to let us hold the party at her restaurant, but was quick to note that she didn’t see it as an ongoing event. Just didn’t think we’d have enough people interested in something like we were talking about.
To populate our first party, they advertised in the local paper and put fliers up at work. And surprisingly, people came to the party. However, unlike the beginnings of most other clubs across the nation where you get members from varied walks of life, our first meeting was attended primarily by police, EMS, and nurses and doctors from our local trauma center. Oh, and a beautiful six-month-old baby named Anna Leigh who has since grown up with our club.
Our numbers began to grow and in a few short months, they moved from Rumors to The Brewery, a larger venue where we could spread out a bit and where the management was more inclined to work with our group. It was there that they first met and befriended Scott Kirby and Peter Mayer, who were invited to play a few sets at one of our early meetings. And they’ve been fortunate to remain friends with these great musicians over the years, having them return as often as possible to play their entrancing melodies.
Though the Derby Parrot Heads began as a tight-knit group of friends partying like Bubba does, our group quickly grew in numbers and our membership began becoming quite diverse. Over the years, we’ve had as members an assortment of doctors, nurses, lawyers, firemen, teachers, students, police—even a U.S. District Court Judge, and yes, they all wore leis, grass skirts and tropical shirts just like any other respectable parrot head would.
And as the years have passed, all of our members have become close friends, and in some cases spouses. Each one of us has at least one, really good friend that we probably wouldn’t have met had it not been for the club. Indeed, over half of the members now vacation with people that they met through the club, whether it be a quick trip to Put in Bay or a week-long getaway to the French West Indies.
We’ve also lost a few great members and friends along the way. Al Baxter, a man who routinely visited Key West when Jimmy Buffett was thinking of little more than asking that cute little blond girl to the junior high school dance. Paul Adams, who lived and loved his life by the river when he had to, and by the ocean whenever possible. And Jackie Walton, a wonderful lady who used Jimmy’s music to escape her pain as she fought a rough bout with cancer. Had it not been for the club, we might never have had the honor to meet these great friends.
Boasting that ‘we’re not just a beer-drinking club’, the Derby Parrot Heads have helped out or sponsored a multitude of charities and social events over the years. These include:
•Sponsoring ‘Margarito’, an injured manatee being treated by the Manatee Association
•Relay for Life
•Habitat for Humanity
•The Center for Women and Children
•The Montserrat Children’s School
•Kosair Children’s Hospital
•The Louisville Zoo
•Kentucky Adopt a Highway
along with various missions, non-profits and schools in the area.
From here on out
Just like any group or family, we’ve had our bumps and stumbles along the way. But we’ve always remained positive, worked hard and enjoyed life. In the last twelve years, we’ve had some great laughs, met some great people, and made memories that we’ll never forget. And we’re hoping the next twelve years will be filled with more of the same.