Last year I was able to be the “Rookie Milkman” following the direction of Richard Thomas who was the official “Milkman”. This year I’ll have that honor and will be sharing the experience with Duane Hill as the “Rookie Milkman” during the 97th running of the Indy 500.
The Indy 500 is unique and in part due to the “Drink of Milk’ tradition at the end of the race. Milk is the healthiest beverage provided to the winner of any motor race known.
The tradition started when Louis Myer asked for a bottle of buttermilk after winning his second 500 in 1933. In 1936 on his third win he was photographed drinking his bottle of buttermilk and the tradition was born. 2012 will be the 57th consecutive year that the milk has been presented to the winner of the 500.
So far this month, there has been a video session here at the farm in preparation for the race. We will soon be telling the ‘Drink of Milk’ story at several radio and television stations as we promote the tradition.
On the day before the race, we’ll be riding on the ‘milk float’ in the 500 Festival Parade in downtown Indy. Last year we were joined on the float by Rick Mears a four time winner and one of the legends of the Indy 500.
On Sunday morning we will be led by a special police escort into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for more media interviews. We then will get to watch the grueling race and get ready to provide the winner their choice of Whole Milk, 2% Milk or Skim. I’ll have a list of milk preferences in my pocket so that the choice the winning driver made before the race will be ready for them in the Winners Circle.
Duane will also provide a bottle of the traditional refreshing milk to the Car Owner and the Chief Mechanic.
After getting that quick trip into the track the challenge will be leaving as once the glory is over we’re just one of the spectators attempting to leave the track all at the same time. It will be a great day and well worth the wait.