Indianapolis 500 tradition highlights the dairy industry


Indianapolis 500 tradition highlights the dairy industry

Photo provided by American Dairy Association Indiana

The winning driver of the Indianapolis 500 will be greeted in Victory Circle with an ice-cold bottle of milk this Sunday. American Dairy Association Indiana’s 2022 Veteran Milk Man Tim Haynes will deliver that bottle of milk.  

“The closer I get, the more it creeps up on me the importance of this and how honored I am to be representing the 750 dairy farm families of Indiana as well as dairy farm families nationally and worldwide,” he says. “The more I think about it, the more humble I feel.”  

The fifth-generation dairy farmer says the race provides an opportunity to share the story of the dairy industry.

“The fact that we’re able to make sure that people understand the true dairy industry and the hard work that goes into it by these family farms, to produce the most perfect food—milk, is an honor,” he says.

Haynes operates Superior Dairy in Garrett, Indiana with his family. He says they continue to incorporate new technology on the farm to create a comfortable home for the 250 cows they milk.  

First-generation dairy farmer Kerry Estes is the 2022 Rookie Milk Man.

“It’s awesome how Indianapolis Motor Speedway has embraced dairy farmers and how they have been absolutely determined that this tradition is going to stand,” he says. “As a dairy producer, I feel very grateful. I’m just a farmer and I get to give the milk this year to the winning team owner and chief mechanic. The fact we get to do this on this kind of stage and the fact that dairy farmers are highlighted is really epic.”

Estes and his wife Christiana began farming in 2005. With the help of their four children, they milk 150 cows in Fountaintown, Indiana.  

A bottle of milk presentation has been part of Victory Circle ceremonies at the Indianapolis 500 for portions of 10 decades—including 66 consecutive years. Louis Meyer, the race’s first three-time winner, is the driver who began the tradition by requesting a cold glass of buttermilk following his victory in 1933. He was photographed drinking milk when he won again in 1936. Milk was presented off and on for several years until it became a permanent part of the post-race celebration by Speedway owner Anton “Tony” Hulman.

Audio: Tim Haynes and Kerry Estes