Thank you Indiana Dairy for sponsoring this post and allowing me the opportunity to talk with this year’s Milkman! Photos courtesy of Indiana Dairy.
The Indianapolis 500 is an event that has a rich history and many long-standing traditions. One of the greatest traditions of the race is the bottle of milk presented to the winner, which is given by the Indianapolis 500 Milkman. This year’s Milkman is Ken Hoeing, who farms in Rushville, Indiana. I had the honor of speaking with Ken this week about his farm and his role as the Indianapolis 500 Milkman.
Did you know?
The tradition of choosing an Indiana dairy farmer as the Indy 500 Milkman has been around since the 1930s. The official Milkman actually serves two years; the first as the rookie Milkman, and then as the official Milkman.
About this year’s Milkman:
Ken Hoeing farms with his four brothers in Rushville on the Hoeing Livestock Farm. The farm is a family farm, and Ken’s grandfather first began farming in 1947. The Hoeing’s farm has 400 dairy cows, as well as a grain operation.
What are Ken’s responsibilities as the Milkman?
Ken’s responsibilities extend far past Race Day. Ken and rookie Milkman Alan Wright attended the annual Rookie Lunch, where they presented the rookie drivers with bottles of milk, and also had the opportunity to meet Mayor Ballard. Indiana Dairy and the American Dairy Association have been involved with the Rookie Lunch for over 40 years!
On Saturday, Ken will be a part of the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade, which is a huge event that is also televised around the country. Sunday is the big day! Ken will watch the race, and with a few laps to go, he’ll head to the Winner’s Circle to present the winning driver with their bottle of milk.
In addition to these events, Ken and Alan have done many press interviews to promote the race and talk about their role as Milkmen. You may have seen them in the paper or on the news!
How does Ken feel about this experience?
One thing I learned in talking to Ken is that being chosen as the Indianapolis 500 is a great honor. Ken repeatedly told me that he’s “humbled” to be a part of everything, and has enjoyed every part of the process. He’s not rooting for a particular driver to win, he’s just happy to get to serve in this special role and be a part of history. He’ll also be attending the Jason Aldean concert the night before the race, something his wife is particularly looking forward to — and I don’t blame her!
The Indianapolis 500 is the greatest race in the world, but there’s so much more than that. It’s an event that is rich in tradition, and it celebrates everything that makes Indiana great. Indiana farmers and the agriculture industry are an important part of the Hoosier state, and I love that our greatest tradition celebrates them by incorporating the Milkman role.
When you see those shots of the winner on Sunday, happily drinking milk, don’t forget that there’s a man behind the milk — and in fact, an entire industry that helps make Indiana great.
My biggest thanks go out to Ken Hoeing for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with me.