Wienermobile drivers during Shelton visit: 'It's like being a 5-year-old again'

For Michael Tierney and Amanda Vazquez, driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile around the country has been a hoot — as well as an adventure 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 visit to the Shelton Stop & Shop on Thursday.

“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.

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Tierney, a 2013 graduate of the University of Minnesota from Duluth, Minn., 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,” Tierney said.

Attend Hot Dog High

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, Wisc., including lessons on how to drive the 27-foot-long vehicle, they are sent on the road as moving billboards and goodwill ambassadors for the well-known meat products company.

Tierney and Vazquez were in different Wienermobiles for the past six months, both in the western United States, and only recently became driving partners. Co-drivers are switched every six months.

Enjoying their time in Connecticut

They are 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, noting their schedule this week was impacted by a snowstorm. She spent much of the past six months in warmer climates such as Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Tierney joked that being from northern Minnesota, he might be somewhat responsible for the current frigid temperatures in the Nutmeg State. “I feel bad — like I brought the weather with me,” he said.

While in Connecticut, they spent some leisure time touring the Yale University campus — eating at the original Frank Pepe Pizzeria during their visit to New Haven.

“You get to pick up on the local culture — eat the local food, hear the local music,” Tierney said.

Mustard vs. ketchup

Next, the Wienermobile partners head to New York state and New Jersey for events leading up to the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

This year’s Super Bowl is being played in northern New Jersey, at the stadium where both the New York Giants and Jets play their home football games.

So do they both like eating hot dogs? Well, of course, yes.

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.