INDIANAPOLIS – Every driver in the 2019 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race will want to
make the acquaintance of two Hoosier dairy farmers on Sunday afternoon, May 26.
And they’ll know exactly where to find them. Andrew Kuehnert and Jill Houin will be
standing, customized cooler in hand, on some of Central Indiana’s most valuable real
estate – Victory Circle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Kuehnert, a sixth-generation dairy farmer from Fort Wayne, and Houin, who works as
calf manager at her family’s Homestead Dairy in Plymouth, are assuming responsibility
for continuing one of Indianapolis’ most treasured traditions. The “Milk People” will
deliver the fabled Bottle of Milk to the winner of the 103rd 500-Mile Race, courtesy of
American Dairy Association Indiana (ADAI).
“We are honored to continue the tradition that means so much to those of us involved in
the dairy industry here in Indiana as well as throughout the US,” Kuehnert said. “We
appreciate the support of this tradition by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and
recognize the important place it holds in the hearts of everyone who loves the 500.
“Nearly everyone, wherever in the world they are, thinks of the 500-Mile Race when they
hear ‘Indianapolis,’” he added, “and most are aware of how winners toast victory at this
track. Jill and I take the responsibility of representing this tradition very seriously, and
look forward to the great opportunity of carrying it forward on May 26.”
The legendary Louis Meyer, Indy’s first three-time winner (1928, ’33, ’36) is
acknowledged as the driver who launched the Bottle of Milk Tradition when he asked for
a glass of his favorite beverage – buttermilk – to quench his thirst after a grueling 500
miles in 1933. Three years later, Meyer was photographed in Victory Lane drinking milk.
Milk was presented off and on during the next several years until, in 1956, the Bottle of
Milk was made a permanent part of the post-race celebration by Indianapolis Motor
Speedway owner Anton “Tony” Hulman.
2019 marks the 64th consecutive year for the beloved tradition – one that Andrew
Kuehnert and Jill Houin intend to continue on May 26.
Meet the Milk People!
• Veteran Milk Person Andrew Kuehnert grew up on his family’s sixth generation dairy
farm in Fort Wayne. There are four generations still involved in the farm today, from
Andrew’s grandmother to the youngest member, Kennedy – Andrew and wife Brittany’s
Andrew also works off-farm as a cattle nutritionist, creating scientifically formulated
diets for dairy cows around the area. At home, Andrew brings his nutrition skills to his
family’s farm to make sure each cow is staying healthy and well-fed.
Kuehnert Dairy Farm recently installed four robotic milking machine that allow cows to
“milk themselves” whenever they would like. This doesn’t mean that the work is done,
though! Each family member still works hard to ensure the cows have everything they
need. Andrew is passionate about creating great food for people, too, and serves up his
award-winning grilled cheese sandwich, the Mousetrap, at the Kuehnert Dairy Farm Fall
Festival each October.
• Born in New Jersey and never having been on a farm, rookie Milk Person Jill Houin
experienced culture shock when she married an Indiana dairy farmer named Brian Houin
in 2004. Learning to adapt to the country lifestyle, she retired from teaching in 2016 and
has become the calf manager at the family’s Homestead Dairy in Plymouth.
Jill also handles all of the farm’s social media, manages its website and gives farm tours
to people of all ages who want to learn more about life on a modern dairy farm. She has a
passion for teaching consumers about the dairy industry and the way farmers care for
their animals and for the environment.
Jill and Brian have two children, Wyatt and Jocelyn.