For Michael Tierney and Amanda Vazquez, driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile around the country has been a hoot — and a learning experience.
“It’s a great opportunity right out of college — to see the country, to meet new people,” said Vazquez during a recent visit to the Shelton Stop & Shop.
“People love the Wienermobile. They are always happy when they see the Wienermobile,” said Vazquez, a 2013 graduate of Penn State University from Queens, N.Y.
Tierney said he was loving the job.
“It’s one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had in my life,” he said. “Everyone you meet is so happy to see the Wienermobile.”
“It’s kind of like being a 5-year-old again,” said Tierney, a 2013 graduate of the University of Minnesota from Duluth, Minn.
Definitely an attention-getter
Suzette and Renald Duquette of Shelton were among those who interacted with the two-person Wienermobile crew at Stop & Shop.
“It’s pretty wild,” Renald Duquette said of the 27-foot-long vehicle, parked in front of the supermarket.
During the stop in Shelton, many shoppers were intrigued with the vehicle — with almost everyone stopping to take a photo of it with their camera phone.
Hot Dog High graduates
Oscar Mayer recruits a dozen college grads a year to drive six Wienermobiles around the country, making promotional appearances at supermarkets and other venues.
After training at Hot Dog High in Madison, Wis., including lessons on how to drive the extended vehicle, they are sent on the road as moving billboards and goodwill ambassadors for the well-known meat products company.
Tierney and Vazquez were spending a week in Connecticut, visiting one Stop & Shop a day from Fairfield to Hamden. “It’s nice and scenic here,” Tierney said.
“We like the cold,” said Vazquez, who had spent much of the past six months with a different Wienermobile partner in Los Angeles and Phoenix.
Bringing the cold weather
Tierney joked that being from northern Minnesota, he might be somewhat responsible for the cold temperatures in the Nutmeg State. “I feel bad — like I brought the weather with me,” he said.
While in Shelton, they chatted with customers, posed for photos and offered tours of the promotional vehicle, well known to many generations of Americans from iconic TV ads.
They also gave out Wienermobile whistles, coupons, stickers, postcards, and other advertising materials.
Fiberglass frame with V-8 engine
The Wienermobile is made of fiberglass and built on a converted Chevrolet chassis. It has a V-8 engine that runs on high-octane gas.
The slick, modern-looking vehicle has a gull-wing door, hot dog-shaped dashboard, mustard- and ketchup-colored seats, and a horn with the Oscar Mayer Wiener jingle. It is 11 feet in height and 8 feet wide.
The original Wienermobile in 1936 was designed by Carl Mayer, nephew of the company’s founder.
So do Tierney and Vazquez both like eating hot dogs? Well, of course they do.
Vazquez likes hers with spicy mustard and onion, while Tierney prefers his with ketchup.
“I can’t imagine going to a baseball game without getting a hot dog — or a Fourth of July celebration,” Tierney said.