LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Four of the NFL’s finest will join University of Louisville Head Football Coach Bobby Petrino on the red carpet at The Julep Ball.
The premier Derby Eve Party with a Purpose, The Julep Ball is held annually on the evening before the Kentucky Derby and supports the work of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville. The event on May 2 at the KFC Yum! Center kicks off with a 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception, followed by dinner and a live auction at 8 p.m.
An Official Event of the 140th Kentucky Derby®, The Julep Ball provides a celebrity-studded night to remember with a multi-course seated dinner, a knock-your-socks-off auction, multiple open specialty bars, complimentary valet parking, and dancing until the wee hours of Derby morning. Tickets to The Julep Ball sell out early each year. The full evening’s entertainment is $600 per person, $5,000 for a table of 10, and $100 per person for dance-only tickets. For further information and to buy tickets, go to The Julep Ball website, julepball.org.
Two former UofL Cardinals now in the NFL – Eric Wood and Joe Johnson – will join EJ Manuel and Kyle Rudolph at The Julep Ball:
Joe Johnson attended the University of Louisville for four years where he was a full time starter for three years and was honored as a first team “All American” in his last year as a Cardinal. He chose to forgo his senior year in college and was drafted 13th overall in the 1994 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. Joe received a number of honors during his 10-year NFL career, including: Pro Bowl (1998 and 2000), All Madden Team (1998 and 2000), Comeback Player of the Year (2000) and All Rookie Team (1994). He was named to the New Orleans Saints Hall Of Fame in 2007.
EJ Manuel is the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. He was the 16th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft out of Florida State University, where he led the Seminoles to their first 12-win season since the 1990‘s. He was named the MVP of the Gator Bowl in 2009 and the MVP of the Senior Bowl in 2013. Off the field, EJ is National Ambassador for Camp Kesem, an organization dedicated to helping children whose parents suffer from cancer and is an advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research in honor of his mother who is a breast cancer survivor.
Kyle Rudolph is a tight end in his fourth season with the Minnesota Vikings. A graduate of Notre Dame and the first tight end to start every game as a freshman, Kyle was the first tight end drafted in the 2011 rookie class. After his breakout year in 2012, earning Pro Bowl MVP honors, he is now regarded as one of the league’s best. Kyle joined his teammates in community outreach activities as a rookie, planting trees as part of Planet Purple Week and visiting University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital when the Vikings were part of the Adopt-A-Room program.
Eric Wood is a University of Louisville alumnus who played for Coach Bobby Petrino at UofL and is the starting center and team captain for the Buffalo Bills. He was the team’s second pick in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft (28th overall). As a Cardinal, he earned Freshman All-American honors, All-Big East honors and Academic All-Big East accolades. Eric finished his collegiate career with 49 consecutive starts at center, the second-longest streak in school history behind Travis Leffew. Today, he is one of the five highest-paid centers in the NFL.