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February, 2013 cover
|Editor & Publisher||Stephen M. Vest|
|Frequency||10 times a year|
|Publisher||Stephen M. Vest, Editor & Publisher|
|Founder||Stephen M. Vest, Kay Vest, Michael Embry|
|First issue||September 1998|
|Company||Vested Interest Publications|
|Based in||Frankfort, Kentucky|
Kentucky Monthly is a general interest regional magazine about the U.S. state of Kentucky and Kentuckians. Founded in 1998 by Stephen M. Vest, publisher, Michael Embry, editor, (who retired in 2006) and business manager Kay Vest, it featured actor George Clooney on its first (and 101st) cover and has featured such Kentucky notables as Ashley Judd, Molly Sims, Wendell Berry, Silas House, Annie Potts, former Miss USA Tara Conner and numerous others.
Based in Frankfort, Kentucky, Kentucky's capital, the magazine features all aspects of contemporary Kentucky culture and presents an annual Kentuckian of the Year award. Winners include: Miss America 2000 Heather French Henry (1999), school-shooting survivor Missy Jenkins (2000), Drs. Layman Gray and Robert Dowling (2001), First Lady Judi Patton (2002), Kentucky's military (2003), KCTCS President Michael McCall (2004), author Wendell Berry (2005), Drs. A. Bennett Jenson and Shin-je Ghim (2006), and 11-year-old Michala Riggle (2008), who raised $200,000 for autism research selling beaded bracelets. On December 26, 2008, Kentucky Monthly presented the Kentuckian of the Year Award to Riggle at a University of Louisville basketball game. In attendance was Muhammad Ali, who made a contribution to Riggle's charity. As of March 1, 2008, Riggle had raised nearly $500,000 and was later a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Academy Award winning actor George Clooney took the honor in 2009 and Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer was named Kentuckian of the Year for 2011. University of Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich received the award in 2013 after guiding 10 different Cardinal teams to Top-25 rankings in 2013, including the men's basketball team, which won the NCAA Championship, and the women's basketball team, which played in the championship game. Harlan's Jordan Smith won the honor for 2015 following his championship on NBC's The Voice.
In 2005 Kentucky Monthly was presented the Governor's Award in the Arts for media, the Commonwealth's highest prize in the arts. Also in 2005, Kentucky Monthly was featured in the Stu Pollard film Keep Your Distance in a scene where the main character is named Kentuckian of the Year.
Kentucky Monthly was named the official state magazine for The Cup Experience, a series of events held in conjunction with the 2008 Ryder Cup in Louisville, Ky., in September 2008. Team USA won the Ryder Cup, led by Kentuckians Kenny Perry and J. B. Holmes, who were named Kentuckians of the Year. In March 2008, Kentucky Monthly was selected as the "Official Kentucky Magazine" for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, held at the Kentucky Horse Park Sept. 25-Oct. 10, 2010, are the world championships of the eight equestrian disciplines recognized by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), and are held every four years. The Games had never before been held outside of Europe, nor had all eight disciplines previously been held together at a single site—both firsts achieved at the Kentucky Horse Park.
In 2008, celebrating its 10th anniversary, Kentucky Monthly published Another Serving: Kentucky Monthly's 10th Anniversary Cookbook and THAT Kind of Journalist, a collection of Vest's back-page columns. The magazine has since published: Sacred Places of Kentucky (2011); Seasoned Cooking of Kentucky (2011); Kentucky A to Z by Amanda Hervey (2012); Kentucky's Twelve Days of Christmas (2012), an anthology of Kentucky-related Christmas material edited by James B. Goode, which includes such writers as Wendell Berry, Robert Penn Warren, Irvin S. Cobb, and Harriette Simpson Arnow; and Walt's Wisdon by Walt Reichert (2014), a collection of the author's gardening columns from Kentucky Monthly.