My bucket list isn’t too extensive or outlandish, but one item that has been begging to be crossed off was to see the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. It had to be fate that made me decide to write this article on fun facts about the Wienermobile. I started to research and came across the hot dog-shaped vehicle’s Twitter feed, and discovered that not only was the Wienermobile in my town, at that very moment, but it was literally around the corner from where I was. I haven’t been that excited since I was a child getting ready for a birthday party.
Needles to say, I rushed over to the motorized frankfurter’s parking spot and giddily had my photo taken in front of it. Now that I have fulfilled one of my dreams, I present to you a list of fun facts about the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile:
- The first Wienermobile hit the Chicago streets in 1936 to promote Oscar Mayer’s German-style Wieners. The idea came from Carl G. Mayer, nephew of the company’s founder.
- Drivers are called Hotdoggers. Only students who are about to graduate college are eligible for the job, which runs from June 1st to June 1st of the next year. Recruiters and current Hotdoggers go to college campuses to urge potential Hotdoggers to apply. Each year, there are about 2,000 applicants. The top 30 candidates must attend interviews at the company headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, and eventually 12 people are hired. Two Hotdoggers are assigned to each Wienermobile.
- The drivers must attend Hot Dog High in Madison, Wisconsin. They learn about Oscar Mayer’s products, history, and how to drive the vehicle.
- There are currently eight official Wienermobiles on the road. Six of them are the full-sized (27-foot long) vehicles we expect, while the other two are a mini version and a food truck.
- License plates on the Wienermobiles read “BIG BUN,” “YUMMY,” “OUR DOG,” “LIL LINK,” “OH I WSH,” “WEENR,” “WNR MBLE,” “BOLOGNA,” and “RELSHME.” They tend to be referred to by their license plates on the blogs and Twitter. I saw WNR MBLE, by the way.
- An older version of the vehicle was taken for a test lap at the Indy 500 in 1988 by Al Unser, Jr.
- It has appeared in two movies, Ladybug with Rodney Dangerfield and Another You with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder
- Even the dashboard is shaped like a hot dog. There are two hot dog-shaped consoles, one in front of each front seat.
- It has a sunroof, but in the Wienermobile, it’s called a bun roof
- It can travel as fast as 90 miles per hour. In fact, Wienermobiles have been pulled over twice for speeding in the past 20 years by Texas State Troopers.
- The Wienermobile with the license plate YUMMY was stopped after an officer in Arizona found that a search of the plate came back as stolen. It turns out that it had been stolen, but Oscar Mayer had since gotten a replacement. Did the police really think that the driver of the Wienermobile would steal a plate?
- Law enforcement doesn’t let this six-cylinder vehicle off easy just because it is the famous Wienermobile. Chicago police gave WEENR a ticket for parking in a no-parking area.
- Wienermobiles have been in their fair share of accidents, but they usually fare well. In 2009, one Hotdogger in Wisconsin mistook the gas for the brake when turning around in a driveway on a residential street. The giant hot dog took out a house’s deck and was lodged under the house. In 2008, a Wienermobile slipped off of an icy road after a storm in Pennsylvania, but there were no injuries and there was only minor damage to the vehicle.
- Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan used to drive the Wienermobile.
To follow the latest Wienermobile news, you can check out the Hotdogger blog or the car’s own Twitter account, @Wienermobile. It’s worth checking out. As I found out, one of the vehicles may be near you right now.
Wikipedia says that it is common for Hotdoggers to give out hot dog-shaped whistles, but I scored a Wienermobile-shaped Silly Band.
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