Indiana Dairy Producer Kerry Estes to Serve as 2023 Indy 500 ‘Veteran Milk Man’

Indiana Dairy producer Kerry Estes of Estes Farm near Fountaintown in Shelby County, Indiana. Estes is the 2023 Indy 500 “Veteran Milk Man” and will hand this year’s winning driver an ice-cold glass bottle of milk at the end of the race. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

When the checkered flag is waved to signal the end of the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500, one of Indiana’s dairy producers will be an exclusive part of an annual tradition that started when 1936 winner Louis Meyer was photographed after winning the race drinking a glass of buttermilk.
“To emphasize this milk tradition, I’ve been able to look forward to that for a whole year and I am excited,” says Kerry Estes of Estes Dairy near Fountaintown in Shelby County.
Estes was the Indy 500 “Rookie Milk Man” last year—and will serve as this year’s “Veteran Milk Man” who will personally hand off an ice-cold glass bottle of milk to this year’s winning driver in Victory Circle.
“It was such an amazing experience last year to come right fresh off the farm and be right down at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with all the drivers, the fans and the excitement—it was almost mind-blowing for me,” he says.
Estes is a first-generation dairy farmer who decided with his wife, Christiana, to start their own dairy operation 19 years ago.
Indiana Dairy producer Kerry Estes, his wife, Christiana, and their four children—Damon, Kylee, Laura and Jason—at their farm in Shelby County. Photo courtesy of the Indiana State Fair.

“Back when I was a young boy, I always wanted to be a farmer,” says Estes. “After I had gotten a business degree, I started working in my father’s metal fabrication business. However, my heart was on the farm. You can just imagine the looks on my mom and dad’s faces when I told them we’re going to leave the family business to milk cows. After I got their jaws up off the floor, they’ve been nothing but supportive.”
Estes says that their dairy farm is a family farm by involving their four children—Damon, Kylee, Laura and Jason—ever since they were old enough to help.
“My wife and I decided that we want to have an occupation that we spend a lot of time working with our family—and boy, did we ever nail that one,” says Estes. “We spend a lot of time out here working together. We laugh about it, but it really is such a neat part of each of our kids story. It’s all they know—getting up before school, coming over to our farm and working. Exposing them to this farm life is giving them an edge over a lot of kids who are not doing those kind of things these days.”
At the end of this year’s Indianapolis 500, is there a particular driver that Estes is hoping to hand that winning glass bottle of milk?
“I’m going to have to say that I can’t pick one—but, I know I’m going to be there at Victory Circle and whomever it is, I’m going to be excited about their victory. I’m also going to be excited to represent Indiana dairy farmers by giving that winner the bottle of milk,” says Estes.
Click below to hear C.J. Miller’s full interview with Kerry Estes as part of “The Dairy Download Podcast Presented by the American Dairy Association Indiana.”

Click here to read from Donald Davidson, Historian Emeritus of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, how the glass bottle of milk became part of the winner’s celebration and tradition at the Indianapolis 500.
Marcus Ericsson, winner of the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500, celebrating his victory with an ice-cold glass bottle of milk in Victory Circle. Photo courtesy of IMS Media.


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