Winners Drink Milk

One of the most coveted traditions in Indiana and all of sports.

Each year, two Indiana dairy farmers and the coveted bottle of milk take the spotlight at the Indianapolis 500. With over 250,000 people watching in-person and many more worldwide, the American Dairy Association Indiana (ADAI) is very thankful for the tradition that was started by driver Louis Meyer requesting buttermilk to quench his thirst after the 1936 race.

The Drink of Milk tradition has evolved to much more than just milk. Over time, the narrative around milk has grown to include the two dairy farmers who deliver the bottles to the winning driver and team.

The dairy farmers are selected by their peers and serve as a ‘Rookie’ the first year, delivering bottles to the winning Chief Mechanic and the winning Team Owner. The following year the Rookie is now the official Milk Person and given the the honor of handing the ice-cold bottle of milk to the winning driver of the Indy 500.

The drivers are asked for their milk preferences before the race: fat-free, 2% or whole milk. Whole milk is the most popular choice by the drivers.

In 2020, Jill Houin from Plymouth, Indiana and Tim Haynes from Garrett, Indiana will proudly serve in this role and represent dairy farmers everywhere. Watch for them in August on race day.

Grab an ice cold glass of milk and join us for a toast during the Indy 500 Victory Circle celebration when Winners Drink Milk!

Hoosier-Heroes Logo

In the spirit of the Month of May, and the traditional winner’s drink of milk, help us to honor and support those most impacted by COVID-19. Nominate a Hoosier Hero in your community and in turn, our partners will donate funds to Indiana Food Banks in the name of our Hoosier Heroes. Plus, you can also help during a time of need by donating directly to our Indiana Food Banks.

MEET YOUR 2019 INDY 500 MILK PEOPLE!

Andrew from Kubhnert Dairy holding a glass pint of milk

Andrew Kuehnert

Andrew Kuehnert grew up on his family’s sixth generation dairy farm in Fort Wayne, Indiana. There are four generations still involved in the farm today, from Andrew’s grandfather to the youngest member—Andrew and his wife Brittany’s daughter Kennedy. It is a true family operation including his brother Nathan and wife Sarah, their daughters Briar and Allie, parents Alan and Cindy, and his Uncle Stan. 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 has four robotic milking machines 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 also 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.

What does it mean to you to represent all other dairy farmers on race day?

I couldn’t be prouder to represent all the family dairy farms across the state and country. I love being able to relate how hard they work to make milk daily to the public. To showcase that dedication and to be a part of Indy 500 tradition is truly and honor. It makes me proud to be dairy farmer!

What are your earliest memories of race?

As a little kid, I remember my parents taking us to watch the race. When you’re at the track, you can literally feel the tradition! The race brings such a following to the state, and being a Hoosier, you really grow up with that passion for the race. As a dairy farmer, that tradition of milk in Victory Circle makes me feel like part of the race every year.

Jill Houin

Jill houin

Born in New Jersey and never having been on a farm, it was a culture shock when Jill married a 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 Homestead Dairy, in Plymouth, IN. Homestead Dairy is a 4th generation farm that milks 4800 cows on 3 different farms, all with unique systems for the cows. 

They use both traditional milking and robotic milking practices to create the best environment for their animals. Jill manages the calves, social media channels, Homestead Dairy’s website, and gives all farm tours to groups around the state, country and world. They also participate in virtual farm tours, allowing people that can’t travel to the farm to have a first-hand experience with them. Having no background in agriculture or dairy, Jill has a passion for teaching consumers about the dairy industry and the way farmers care for their animals and for the environment.

Have you received any advice from Andrew or past milk people?

They’ve all been so helpful at preparing me for the day and telling me to embrace and enjoy every minute of it! It’s such a unique experience to represent our Hoosier dairy farmers and handing that winner the amazing, nutritious glass of milk.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Seeing milk as such a prized trophy in Victory Circle is going to be so cool! Knowing that it started at a local dairy family farm that had the passion to care for the animals. Then to see it be presented as a trophy less than 48 hours later, along with the excitement of the winner to receive it, is just going to be awesome!

Meet the past indy 500 milk people

Name: Anita Schmitt

  • Farm Name: J&A Dairy
  • Year as milk person: 2008
  • Favorite memory: It was exciting and fun, had a great time with Sam Shwoeppe and always have a great time with her.  This is the top 10 most exciting things to do and exciting to be in Wintercircle during that time.  One of the racecar drivers saw that we were covered in milk after the milk splashing at the end of the race and said that we can stay with them as they were celebrating, so exciting to really be a part of the moment.  Very special memory to share the moment with the winners, emotions running high, happiness, and excitement at its peak. 
  • Most surprising moment: As a rookie, I got stuck on 16th street…left hotel 4:30a in the morning and got stuck for 5 hours, waiting to get into the Indy500 event.  It was the uncertainty of getting in that was a surprise. 
  • Who won the year you delivered the milk? Scott Dixon
  • What is your advice for future milk people? Have fun, go with the flow!  It’s an experience of a lifetime, you won’t be able to do it again.  Make the most of the experience!

John Doe

WordPress Developer

Fastest Rookie Luncheon

Since 1975, the American Dairy Association Indiana has honored the Fastest Rookie driver who qualifies for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.  This is the longest running continuous sponsorship at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and it’s one that we treasure.  The term “rookie” might be a little misleading, as all of the drivers that are part of the Fastest Rookie Luncheon have many years of experience and miles under their belts.  They are part of this event during their first year driving in the Indy 500.  The winning rookie is determined by recording the fastest four-lap average speed among his or her fellow rookie competitors on Qualification Day.