SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) – The Indianapolis 500 milk tradition will go on this year, despite the pandemic, but there will be some changes.
For the 104th running of the Indy 500, fewer people will be involved in getting the milk to the winner circle.
Typically, there is a veteran milk person and a rookie milk person and the two are responsible for getting that cold milk to the winner, the owner and the crew chief.
Without fans this year and in an effort to keep fewer people in the winner circle, the rookie will be sitting out and the veteran will be doing all of the milk responsibilities herself.
“I am still just as excited,” said Jill Houin, the veteran milk person from Homestead Dairy. “This tradition is so important to the Indy 500 and to carry on something that has been going on for so long. It is sad that we can’t have fans cheering us on in the winner circle, but I know they are cheering us on at home and now they have an opportunity to raise a glass of milk with the winner and join us in the celebration after at home.”
New milk bottles also had to be made for the new race date. Otherwise, the milk will be just as cold as it was in 1936 when the tradition started. IMS said legendary Indy 500 winner, Louis Meyer, drank buttermilk in the victory lane after the race and for the most part, it has been a tradition ever since.
Dairy farmers in Indiana said the pandemic won’t stop the tradition, this year.
“It is still a great honor to be involved with this,” said Tim Haynes, the rookie milk person from Superior Dairy. “Like I said, I look forward to the next two years, when hopefully, things are back to normal and I have another opportunity to give it then.”
Both the veteran and rookie milk people this year will actually get the opportunity to give the milk again at next year’s Indy 500.
For now, they want everyone to make a new at home tradition of pouring a cup of milk and toasting with the winner after this year’s Indy 500 race.