Who would want to drive a seven-ton Wienermobile?
Turns out, a lot of people really do. Hot doggers “Spicy Mayo” Myra Martinez and “Jumbo Dog” John Craft rolled the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile into Mansfield on Saturday, making a lot of new friends and fans at the Kroger Marketplace, 3300 E. Broad St.
“We’re a PR firm on wheels,” Craft said.
The pair have been on the road since June, touring one of six Wienermobiles across the lower 48 states “spreading miles of smiles,” said Martinez, who is from McAllen. More than 1,500 recent college graduates applied to drive the Wienermobile, and two of only 12 that were selected.
“Statistically, it’s harder to get to drive the Wienermobile than to get into Harvard,” said Craft, who is from Macon, Ga.
“You’re pretty popular with your friends,” he admits. “There’s been less than 400 hot doggers in 29 years. There’s been more astronauts in space.”
The pair “cut the mustard” by being trustworthy and “having a zest for life,” they said. (Relishing wiener jokes seem to be part of the job.) The hot doggers have to be trustworthy because not only are they representing one of the most well-known brands in the United States, they’re in charge of a beloved and expensive custom-made weenie.
The massive fiberglass frankfurter features a 300-horsepower engine and is built on a GM truck chassis, that can go up to 80 mph. There’s a touchscreen GPS, surround sound speakers for tunes inside and outside the big dog, a flat-screen television, six leather and velour seats with custom Wienermobile embroidery, storage space in the back of the bun and a horn that plays “I Wish I Were an Oscar Mayer Wiener.”
Wherever they go, the jumbo dog draws attention, the hot doggers say. People get out at stoplights to take photos, drive alongside it on the highway and, when they stop at hotels, managers ask them to park it near the front to draw attention. Parked at Kroger on Saturday, people stopped to climb inside or take selfies with the sausage.
“The Wienermobile brings back memories and creates new ones,” Martinez said.
Mansfield resident Michelle Guffey didn’t know the Wienermobile was visiting, but when she saw the big red and yellow dog she and her sons were all over it.
“Their dad (Travis) worked for Oscar Mayer before he went to college,” she said. “He loved working for Oscar Mayer.”
Drew and Maddux Guffey took the opportunity to climb inside and get hot dog stickers and weenie whistles.
The super-sized sausage has been around since 1936, originating in Chicago. Legend has it that the first ones were melted down to make cans for hot dogs for soldiers in World War II, Craft said. Since then, the Wienermobile has been through several modifications that have changed its size and shape. In 2008, Oscar Mayer even added a Mini Cooper Wienermobile to the fleet.
Driving 500 miles a week, Martinez and Craft are making memories of their own on their year as Oscar Mayer hot doggers, visiting grocery stores, riding in parades and touring military bases across the country. Since June, they have showed up at an 8-year-old Colorado boy’s birthday, driven a bride and groom from their wedding to their reception, skydived in a hot dog suit and driven across the Royal Gorge.