The 15 Most Badass Kentuckians Of All Time


1. Jim Beam

Oh, Jim… you’ve always been a good friend. Although you were born in Germany, you settled in the right state. Thanks to you, our nights have been much, much more interesting than they would have been. Sure we’ve made some pretty bad decisions, but you were always there to make us feel better in the end. And, although your company is no longer owned by a Kentuckian (you’re probably rolling over in your grave), we will never forget the man who paved the way for bourbon in Kentucky.


2. Henry Clay

Remember that time we kicked Britain’s ass… no, not the first time; the second. Yeah, the war of 1812 probably would have never happened without this man, one of the most outspoken voices of the “war hawks.” Not only that, but you didn’t want to piss him off. One time, while he was Speaker of the House, he almost came to blows with Humphrey Marshall. Instead of letting it go, Clay challenged Marshall to a duel! While neither were killed, Clay’s bullet grazed Humphrey’s chest, inches away from his heart. He took a bullet to the thigh, but was soon back in office. Clay just didn’t get a damn, which is why he was a badass.


3. Hunter S. Thompson

This dude… Hunter S. Thompson was a man without fear. He literally didn’t give a shit about anything. He spent a year with the Hells Angels (even they said he was crazy), did more drugs in one lifetime than every rapper alive, and did it all in the most apathetic way possible. While he did come to end his life, he made his impact in the world with the contribution of Gonzo Journalism, and experienced more than most people ever will. What a badass.

Hunter S Thompson

4. Thomas E. Bramlette

Speaking of people who just plain didn’t give a damn… how about Kentucky’s Civil War Governor, Thomas Bramlette. Not only did he start off by leading the 13th Regiment of the Union, as it’s General, but he also decided to fight back when Lincoln issued Habeas Corpus in Kentucky. Things definitely got rowdy for awhile, but Bramlette always did what he wanted. Despite switching sides in the middle of the war, he was always a proponent of the 13th Amendment and held a day of grieving in Kentucky upon learning of Lincoln’s death.


5. All The McCoy Men…

Ever get upset when someone is taking advantage or getting the best of someone in your family? Yeah, you’ve probably wanted to kick some ass for someone you love, but no one in Kentucky has taken it to the lengths that the McCoy men did. Sure, some people may have seen them as crazy, but they changed the reputation of Kentucky for quite a while.



6. Daniel Boone

Damn, this guy had some cajones. Not only was he a pioneer, who braved the wilderness of Kentucky (sometimes alone), but he also fought in the militia during the Revolutionary War. There are plenty of stories of him single-handedly fighting off bears and Shawnee Indians. The most interesting story is that he was kidnapped by the Shawnee, but later inducted as a member of their tribe. Founding Boonesborough, his trails led over 200,000 people into our great state; forever changing its history forever.

Bingham, Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers through Cumberland Gap 1851f

7. John T. Thompson

Some men like to watch sports, some like to drink beer, but John T. Thompson just wanted to find the best way to shoot something. That’s probably why he invented one of the most badass guns of all time: The Tommy Gun. We’ll just leave this here…


8. George Clooney

Turtleman may give Kentucky a bad name sometimes, but, don’t worry, George Clooney is both attractive and classy enough to make up for it. Yeah, the “Most Attractive Man in the World” is pretty much our poster boy. If you haven’t seen “O’ Brother, Where Art Thou,” you’ve deprived yourself of one of the best movies ever. Oh, and loves us, too.


9. Johnny Depp

Yeah, we didn’t know that Johnny Depp was born in Kentucky either, but he sure was, so we’ll claim him as ours. Everyone in the world has seen at least one of his movies, and he always kills the rolls. Whether it was slitting throats in Sweeney Todd or being Edward Scissorhands, he’s always excellent.


10. Abraham Lincoln

Speaking of people born here that we claim as our own.. how about (arguably) the most loved President of all time. Lincoln was born here in a Log Cabin, and he completely changed the course of American History in signing the Emancipation Proclamation. Oh, he also gave one hell of a speech. Have you checked out the Gettysburg Address lately? Pure gold.



11. Muhammad Ali

“Float like a butterfly…” and knock your ass out. The best boxer of all time was Louisville’s own, and his reputation will live forever. Oh, you haven’t had a chance to watch any videos of him boxing? Here, let us help you.

12. Johnny Unitas

Johnny U was the man in his prime. How about the fact that he led the Baltimore Colts to a Superbowl victory in the “Greatest Game Ever Played.” He threw for over 2000 yards that year, earning the nickname “The Golden Arm.” Once again, enjoy:

13. Harland “Colonel” Sanders

Oh, baby… juicy, crunchy fried chicken. We don’t even care if that’s the first thing that people think of when they hear the word “Kentucky.” It’s all thanks to Harland “Colonel” Sanders, and his secret recipe, and that legacy lives up to today, with Yum! Brands being a huge provider for jobs in our state. Damn, now we want a bucket of KFC.


14. Bill Monroe

Ever heard of a style of music known as “Bluegrass?” Well, it was first coined and created by a man by the name of Bill Monroe, and he was amazing. His music quickly rose to popularity in Southern states, and is recognized as something uniquely Kentucky. Not impressed yet? You will be soon…

15. Jennifer Lawrence

Just as any good Kentuckian should be, Jennifer Lawrence just does whatever the hell she wants. She’s outspoken, classy, and beautiful. Oh, and she’s an amazing actress. Keep doing your thing, and we’ll keep loving you.


Honorable Mention: Billy Ray Cyrus

Just… mullet.


Credit: Pop Dust

Did we not mention your favorite Kentucky Badass? Let us know your personal favorites by commenting below. We love a good story.