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LOUISVILLE, KY — The annual spectacle and revelry of the world’s most famous horse race was interrupted by an awkward moment as Kristi Noem attended the Kentucky Derby to see if any horses needed to be put down.

The South Dakota governor arrived at Churchill Downs decked out in the traditional spectator garb, complete with a festive hat and brandishing a shotgun with which she offered to put any unwanted horses out of their misery.

“Hey, guys! I’m ready to shoot some animals if anyone needs me to! Anyone? Anyone have a bad horse they need me to take care of?” Noem shouted excitedly as she strolled along the lower concourse with her 12-gauge locked and loaded. “I mean it. I’m here to do the hard things. If anybody has a horse they don’t want, just say the word. I can take care of that for you. Permanently. I’m dishing out heaping portions of lead salad here, folks. Tell me when.”

Other spectators seemed to be confused and slightly disturbed by Noem’s presence. “It’s a bit unsettling, yes,” said one attendee who was sipping a mint julep. “I heard she kept trying to get access to the stables and told security ‘It’s totally fine, I’ve got plenty of ammo.’ I even overheard her telling a jockey to send her a text if his horse didn’t perform well in the race. She seemed pretty serious about it.”

At publishing time, Noem had been escorted off the property by security personnel but was last seen setting up a perch on a nearby building and assembling a sniper rifle.

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