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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Oscar Mayer takes its Wienermobile for a spin around Tucson

Selena Quintanilla

The Wienermobile at Wal-Mart Marketplace on Thursday, Feb. 2. The Wienermobile will make two more stops in Tucson before moving to its next destination.

People don’t usually think of 14,000-pound hot dogs, but this weekend, big, orange and wrapped in a bun, a Oscar Mayer Wienermobile rolls into Tucson.

Starting in Washington State and heading to McAllen, Texas, Hotdogger—yes that is really what they are called—Francisco Ruiz pulled the Wienermobile into the Wal-Mart Tucson Marketplace on Thursday afternoon.

Oscar Mayer, the hot dog and deli meats company, is celebrating the 81st year of the Wienermobile tradition, so it is out on the road touring the country from coast.

“The point of the tour is spreading the word about our company and really listening to our customers,” Ruiz said. “The good and the bad goes up to the top level, we are just the ears on the ground.”

As soon as the Wienermobile pulled up, Wal-Mart customers rushed over. Excited children and reminiscing parents and grandparents gathered around the big orange and yellow rig to take pictures and chat to Ruiz as he handed out stickers and Wiener Whistles.

“Everybody gets so excited,” Ruiz said, “and it’s so awesome to see everyone smiling.”

After two more stops in Tucson, the Wienermobile will make its way to El Paso and then on to McAllen. It spends one week in each city and goes to whichever stores put in a request.

“It drives just like an RV,” Ruiz said, “and whenever else do you get paid to travel all over the country?”

Oscar Mayer offers the job to graduating college seniors and receives 2,000 applications every year. Out of those applicants, 12 are selected and earn the title of “Hotdogger” and get to take the Wienermobile for a spin.  The main goal of this Wienermobile’s stop in McAllen is recruitment at the University of Texas. The team currently consists of four men and eight women who take to the road two at a time.

“I can definitely tell when people are following me,” Ruiz said.

He said that weaving traffic and tailgaters trying to snap pictures are not uncommon.

The rig is not actually made of hot dog, Ruiz explained to one disappointed child, and also doesn’t provide them. The rig is not equipped with grills or refrigeration, so it doesn’t deliver hot dogs to fans. That is up to the hosting store, according to Ruiz.

The Wienermobile has six captains chairs and room in the back for free swag like stickers to give away to excited fans. Advertisement is its main goal, and what better way to draw attention than by driving a giant shining yellow and orange Oscar Mayer Wiener down the highway.

For customers interested in tracking the Wienermobile, there is an app that allows users to see where it is at all times. It will be in Tucson for the weekend, at the Wal-Mart on North Cortaro Road from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m on Friday, and the Wal-Mart on La Cholla Boulevard on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Follow Tirion Morris on Twitter.

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