No crying over spilled milk, at least that is hope

Fri May 27, 2016 11:02am EDT
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(Reuters) - Janet Dague will be nervous watching the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday as she awaits her 15 minutes, or perhaps 15 seconds, of fame.

Her concern, however, will not be over what is unfolding on the track. Rather, she will worry that she does not drop the bottle of milk she will carry to victory lane for the winning driver to drink.

Dague is this year's Indy 500 Milk Woman, and will continue a tradition that dates back to 1936, when winning driver Louis Meyer, as legend has it, requested a bottle of buttermilk to quench his thirst.

In an era before the term "product placement" was part of the public lexicon, the milk industry reportedly realized what priceless publicity it had received, and persuaded organizers into making it an annual ritual.

The tradition continues to this day -- with 1993 being a notable exception -- an unusual anomaly in a sport where champagne is more often the beverage of choice for the winner.

Which brings us back to Dague, who will take her job as seriously as any of the drivers, without quite the danger.

Dague is not so much worried about dropping the milk on her own, but rather is concerned about the possibility of being bumped in the crowded confines of victory lane.

"I am absolutely terrified I am going to get shoved," the 4 foot 11 inch (1.5m) dairy farmer told Reuters, adding that she was planning to use an adhesive product to help minimize the chances of a spill.

Hague, with her husband and three children, have a 1500-acre farm near Kewanna, about 100 miles (161 kms) north of Indianapolis, where they keep about 200 dairy cows.   Continued...