Friday, February 23, 2024

“Smiles for miles”: Two Oscar Mayer hotdoggers share their experiences

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Featured Photo by Jordan Reining

Story by Jordan Reining

Occasionally, locals can find a 27 foot long hotdog on wheels sitting outside of Kroger or Walmart as they get their weekend groceries.

The Weinermobile outside of a Murfreesboro Kroger. (Photo by Jordan Reining).

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile is a hotdog shaped vehicle that advertises the famous hotdog brand. Each of the six Wienermobiles come equipped with two drivers who are known as hotdoggers. They represent the company with merchandise and puns. 

Created in 1936, the Oscar Mayer brand sends their hotdoggers all over the “hotdog highways.”

For the past few months, Jumbo Dog Jacob and Abbey Frankfurter have roamed the southeastern United States.

A marketing duo on wheels, they drive to events around the states and make connections between the brand and the communities they visit.  

“Being a hotdogger really is just going around city-to-city, a coast-to-coast wiener roast all year round,” Jacob said. 

Hotdogger is the official title of the year long position. Only 12 spots are available each year. Hotdoggers are assigned a region of the country to drive in and the Wienermobile schedules are posted two weeks in advance of each event.  

Every 6 months, the pairs are switched up and assigned to a new region. 

After getting the job, they go through a two week training camp known as Hotdog High. There, they learn how to navigate the road and more.

Although the application process is extremely competitive, the position is a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Abbey Frankfurter travelled across the sea to Puerto Rico with the Weinermobile. It was the first time a pair of hotdoggers had been back to the island in 53 years.  

“I took this Wienermobile to Puerto Rico and we drove around the island for six weeks,” said Abbey. “It was absolutely incredible.” 

Madysen Thomas, a Murfreesboro local, had never seen the Wienermobile before she visited it at a Murfreesboro Kroger in April.

“I thought it was really funny and not what I was expecting,” Thomas said.

Thomas received a weenie whistle and got to look inside the vehicle. 

“I got to learn some really cool things about the job,” Thomas said. “It was dog-tastic.” 

Thomas met with Jumbo-Dog Jacob and Abbey Frankfurter, who deemed her hotdogger name as Mustard Madysen. 

The nicknames are a staple of the hotdogger position and always follow a cookout or food related theme.  

Equipped with 6 seats,the “wienervision,” a mounted TV, sits atop a blue, cloudy sky wallpaper that covers the entire ceiling. Jacob’s favorite feature is the bun roof that they open during parades.

They said being a hotdogger is exciting, but the requirements are strict. Eligible applicants must have a college degree, be able to manage meet and greets and build upon the brand’s reputation and relationship with the public.  

There is not a specific degree needed, but preferred candidates have one in a business or communication field.  

Abbey had originally gotten her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience. 

“I lived in Nashville for a year,” said Abbey. “I got my masters in marketing, so I came around to this industry.” 

Constant traveling and being away from family is also a part of the job. Breaks follow an academic schedule with a few weeks off around holidays.  

“A Monday is gonna be a travel day…Tuesday, Wednesday we usually have off days, then Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday we have events,” Jacob said. 

They try to visit home whenever they can. In the past, the families of hotdoggers have flown out to meet them throughout the year.  

Oscar Mayer and the hotdoggers have driven across the country for decades and plan to deliver “smiles for miles” as they continue promoting the brand.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com. For more news, visit www.mtsusidelines.com, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News.

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