SPEEDWAY, Ind. — One of the longest standing traditions at the Indianapolis 500 was started in 1936, when Louis Meyer won the race and asked for a bottle of cold buttermilk.
From then on, the winners of the Indy 500 have been handed a cold bottle of milk when they step into Victory Circle.
The milk is presented to the winning driver by the official Milk Person and Rookie Milk Person through the American Dairy Association of Indiana.
Tim Haynes, who is the 2021 Rookie Milk Man, was supposed to be in Victory Circle last year, but due to the race being delayed and limited people being allowed when the event finally took place, he wasn’t able to be there.
Haynes said he was disappointed, but still watched the race at home and actually toasted with milk at the end of the race.
“Back home the cows still needed taken care of,” Haynes said, adding that his family has been milking dairy cows for more than 100 years.
“Like Louis Meyer, winners drink milk,” Haynes said.
As the Rookie Milk Person, it will be Haynes’ job to hand ice-cold bottles of milk to the chief mechanic of the winning driver, as well as the team owner.
Helping him in Victory Circle will be Jill Houin, who is the first to be the Milk Person in back-to-back years and the one who will hand the winning driver an ice-cold bottle of milk of their choice.
As the race gets closer, Haynes said he gets more nervous, but he is grateful that Houin will be there to help.
Houin said the best advice she can give Haynes is simple.
“Don’t drop the milk,” Houin said, adding it is an exciting feeling when the winning driver grabs the bottle of milk from your hands.