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A Louisville man would have attended his 74th consecutive Derby. His family sang ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ in his yard instead.

Bob Weihe hasn't skipped a Kentucky Derby since 1947, his first time when he was 9-years-old.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Louisville lawn was filled with love on Saturday as the Weihe family did their Derby day a little differently this year.

Dozens gathered in front of Bob Weihe’s home, while still standing six feet apart, to surprise him and his wife Barbara with the playing of My Old Kentucky Home.

“It made up for not having the Derby this year, kind of,” Barbara said.

For 73 years, Bob Weihe has spent the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs. The last decade, they would watch from a box seat in Section 117 with a couple they’ve been attending with since 1957.

“We've seen 6 triple crown winners, out of the 13, we've seen six of them,” Bob explained.

He hasn't skipped a year since 1947, his first time when he was nine years old.

He even made it to the track in 2013, when his wife Barbara was recovering in the hospital from a surgery.

“I let him go without me. He couldn't break his record,” she joked.

In 2020, the first time in decades, it was a change of scenery for Bob. The pandemic forcing him to ditch the paddock and stay on his porch.

Credit: Family video
Bob Weihe and wife serenaded by friends and family to the sounds of My Old Kentucky Home

“It was emotional,” he said. “Couldn't keep the tears back, happy tears,” his wife added. “It was a wonderful feeling, he loved it. So then we passed out Mint Juleps.”

Bob's smile was shining almost as bright as the sun on Saturday, which admittedly added little salt in the wound for these two, who have suffered through rain, even snow throughout the last 73 years.

“Two years ago was the worst year. It just poured and never stopped,” Barbara said.

Nevertheless, the track calls them back year after year, and it’s a practice passed they’ve passed down to their son.

“He's been going since he was ten. So, he's been going for 50-something years without ever missing.”

Bob and Barbara are hopeful they can save the streak come September.

“We will definitely be there,” Barbara said. “If we're still here and they have it.

► Contact reporter Heather Fountaine at hfountaine@whas11.com and follow her on Twitter (@WHAS11Heather) and Facebook.  

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