PADUCAH — We've known for a while now who is and isn't (looking at you, Rand Paul) appearing at this year's annual Fancy Farm picnic on Saturday, the unofficial kick-off to the fall campaign season.
What we don't know, and won't until they take the stage, is which version of the state's two major party gubernatorial candidates will be there.
While the lead-up to last year's picnic felt like the build-up to a heavyweight prize fight with observers and supporters wondering whether Mitch McConnell or Alison Lundergan Grimes would win the day, this year has felt more like the minutes before a playground slapfight between two fifth-graders.
In forums, ads and emails, Matt Bevin and Jack Conway haven't shied away from the cheap shots, trading jabs over matters ranging from where Bevin is from and where Conway went to college.
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This is the weekend to hone those cheap shots in front of rowdy crowds who, despite the thousands of pounds of BBQ on hand, will show up with an appetite for red meat.
Both candidates will bring their share of baggage for their brief trip to the western corner of the state.
Here's a look at the options the candidates face while they're deciding which version of themselves to be on Saturday, with bonus bullseyes denoting where they are most vulnerable when it comes to mining their candidacies for comedy.
Conway: To his detractors, it's really a matter of which unflattering caricature will take the stage — the "tough son of a bitch" or the crying attorney general?
After his 2009 appearance, Conway became a cautionary tale for Fancy Farm speeches. Republican observers who watched his ill-advised boast of being "tough" that year are still laughing about it six years later.
Because of that, Conway has the benefit of low expectations. If he can find a way to show some authenticity that doesn't inspire endless ridicule, or maybe even find a way to laugh at himself and his reputation as a limited campaigner, Conway could end up enjoying this Fancy Farm more than any before.
If he fails and falls back into a mode that is easily mocked, it will be a long weekend and an even longer fall.
Vulnerabilities: 2009 Fancy Farm screw-up, crying when he announced he wouldn't appeal the lower court's gay marriage decision, the fact that an unpopular president of the United States is in the same party.
Bevin: It's a phenomenon among politicians that is hardly unique to Bevin, but there are definitely two versions of the Republican candidate. At least two.
Will the charming salesman who talks about his nine children (four adopted) take the stage, or will it be the short-tempered, abrasive mystery man who seems less and less sure of where he stands on issues like Medicaid expansion?
Bevin does not have the benefit of low expectations that Conway does, as he is widely regarded as a competent campaigner who can deliver a strong speech even when it is short on policy details or knowledge of state and local issues.
Nobody is expecting Bevin or anybody else to give a policy speech this weekend, so the setting should be tailor-made for his skill-set, just as it was for Grimes last year.
But if he wanders off into Scotty Baesler territory, appearing unhinged and showing voters the version of himself that is usually confined to his interactions with reporters, he might well find himself pigeon-holed as an erratic, untrustworthy hothead.
There will be no shortage of folks there to try and provoke Bevin's Hulk while he tries to be Bruce Banner. (I'll be shocked if there isn't at least one person sweating in a chicken costume to highlight Bevin's appearance at a pro-cockfighting rally during last year's U.S. Senate race.)
If Bevin keeps his cool, he could get a nice little bump out of the weekend. If not, he could get bumped back to fringe status.
Vulnerabilities: Temper, laundry list of insults from McConnell's 2014 campaign team, flip-flops and missteps on policy and relative newness to the state of Kentucky.
The old adage is true: Candidates can't win elections at Fancy Farm, but they can sure lose them.
For Bevin and Conway — and Kentucky — to avoid the loser column, both candidates will need to show up with the best versions of themselves.
But if nothing else, give them credit for showing up to face the heat and the heated, partisan attendees.
That's more than Rand Paul is doing.