The beloved Bottle of Milk presented to the winner of the Indianapolis 500 has been a part of Victory Circle ceremonies for portions of 10 decades — including for 66 consecutive years.
The legendary Louis Meyer, the race’s first three-time winner (1928, ’33, ’36) is recognized as the driver who began the tradition by requesting a cold glass of buttermilk — his favorite beverage — following his victory in 1933. Three years later, Meyer was photographed drinking milk in Victory Lane. Milk was presented off and on during the next several years until, in 1956, it became a permanent part of the post-race celebration by Speedway owner Anton “Tony” Hulman.
The bottles have become prized possessions of race winners, who also receive $10,000 for enjoying that long, refreshing, nutritious, ice-cold swig of milk. The 2022 champion will be greeted in Victory Circle by American Dairy Association Indiana’s 2022 Veteran Milk Man Tim Haynes, Hoosier dairy farmer and fourth-generation owner of Superior Dairy in Garrett, and by 2022 Rookie Milk Man Kerry Estes of Estes Dairy Farm in Fountaintown.
Meet Indiana Dairy Farmer and 2022 Veteran Milk Man Tim Haynes
Four generations ago, rookie Milk Presenter Tim Haynes’ grandfather started Superior Dairy in the 1940s, and the farm has not been without cows since. Tim and his family have continued to incorporate new technology to create a comfortable home for their cows. They grow most of their feed and employ robots for milking, cleaning, and feeding.
In their “smart barn,” the temperature can be regulated by automatic fans, sprinklers and curtains. Cows choose when they want to get milked with the robots and spend the rest of the day lounging in sand beds with access to ample food and water thanks to automatic waterers and a feed robot named Juno.
This level of automation doesn’t mean that the work is done, though! Each family member plays a special role to ensure the cows have everything they need. Tim and his brother David work with their children and spouses to divide the work on the farm. With around 240 cows at the farm, the Haynes family members specialize in crop management, cow care, public relations, and more to keep their cows healthy and happy.
Meet Indiana Dairy Farmer and 2022 Rookie Milk Man Kerry Estes
Kerry Estes is a first-generation dairy farmer from Fountaintown, just southeast of Indianapolis. He and his wife Christiana began farming in 2005 after deciding they wanted to work more closely with their four children, and dairy farming provided the perfect opportunity to do just that.
Their cows graze in the surrounding pastures during part of the year and have waterbeds to lounge in when they feel like it. Each family member has a different specialty on the farm, making it a true family business. Kerry also coaches football in the local school system, bringing his sense of teamwork from the farm to the field.
What can farmers and Ag professionals do to help advocate for agriculture around the Indy 500?
Many consumers pay attention to this race, and it’s great to share the story about how the tradition started in your own way.
You can also share the list below of drivers expected to participate in the 2022 Indianapolis 500 and their milk preferences. People are interested in what milk the drivers would celebrate the win.