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Hot diggity dog: Oscar Mayer 'Hotdoggers' get frank about life in the Wienermobile – Lake Geneva Regional News

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Daniels Foods deli employee Madeline Wanecke, of Lake Geneva, was among those checking out Oscar Mayer’s iconic Wienermobile during its Aug. 18 visit at Daniels Foods in Walworth to mark the independent, family-owned supermarket’s 100th anniversary celebration. Said Wanecke of the Wienermobile, “I like it. It’s kind of interesting – how it’s shaped and how it looks inside. It’s just something cool … I’m excited.”
“Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener, that is what I’d truly like to be-ee-ee. ‘Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener, everyone would be in love with me.”“The Wiener Song,” Richard Trentlage, 1962.
There are few things more quintessentially American than the popular summer triple play of baseball, hot dogs and apple pie.
And when my thoughts turn to grilling hot dogs in the lazy, hazy, crazy dog days of summer, the machinations of my mind also conjure up nostalgic images of the original Wisconsin “Lamborgwienie” — Oscar Mayer’s iconic Wienermobile.
It’s a modern day “Odd Couple” pairing if there ever was one. She likes to top her hot dogs with sauerkraut. He likes to eat his smothered with nacho cheese.
All of which begs a modern-day riff on narrator William Woodson’s solemnly-intoned classic “Odd Couple” intro question: “Can two Oscar Mayer ‘Hotdoggers’ with an appetite for adventure share a 27-foot gull-winged Wienermobile without driving each other crazy?”
No buns about it, my inquiring mind was wanting to know when I crossed paths Aug. 18 with “WEENR,” one of six Oscar Mayer Wienermobiles cruising the country year-round, fair weather or foul.
My mind creatively awash with wienie-related puns in this dog-eat-dog journalistic era, I was relishing the opportunity to professionally cut the mustard as I capitalized on the opportunity to ketchup with Oscar Mayer Hotdogger brand ambassadors Katherine “Sauerkraut Kat” Abraham and “Cookout Christian” Jabbar during their stop at Daniels Foods in Walworth as part of the supermarket’s centennial celebration.
Oscar Mayer Wienermobile Hotdogger Katherine “Sauerkraut Kat” Abraham, a Lubbock, Texas native and marketing graduate of the University of Tex…
Given the Wienermobile’s legacy Badger State roots, Hotdoggers are trained at Oscar Mayer’s “Hot Dog High” in Madison.
The company’s 35th Hot Dog High graduating class numbered four men and eight women, recent college graduates from across the country with degrees in public relations, journalism, communications, advertising or marketing, though applicants are not limited to those degrees.
Newly-graduated with their “dogree” diplomas in hand from the intensive two-week Hog Dog High training program, “fresh meat” duo Abraham and Jabbar are in the second month of their year-long June 2022-June 2023 stint driving a 7-ton, yellow-banded Wienermobile, the 1936 Depression-era marketing brainchild of Oscar Mayer nephew Carl G. Mayer.
Since the 1988 establishment of the Hotdogger brand ambassador program, nearly 450 newly-minted college graduates have launched their professional careers pulling year-long marketing and public relations stints with Oscar Mayer, leaving a trail of red-and-yellow wiener whistles and punchy, one-liner hot dog puns wherever they go.
For a lucky select few like Abraham and Jabbar, it’s the ultimate epic road trip travel adventure — driving a giant hot dog and seeing the country in pursuit of “bunderful” adventures.
Oh, to be young again. Being a Hotdogger is in my B-O-L-O-D-N-A!
Graduating from college in 1987, I missed the opportunity to be a Hotdogger by a year. Franks a BUNch!
As a lifelong Charles Kuralt wannabe with a nomadic adventure travel itch just waiting to be scratched, it’s an opportunity I would have jumped at — living a mini-celebrity existence as Relish Ricky, riding “shotbun” in Oscar Mayer’s larger-than-life American pop culture “Wieniebago,” tossing wiener whistles like penny candy to adoring fans along America’s highways and byways.
In exchange for their salary, insurance and a weekly travel expense stipend, Hotdoggers work their buns off five days a week making appearances at grocery stores, farmers markets, nonprofit organizations, community events and food shows, averaging some 500 miles a week.
“We haul buns everywhere,” Abraham said.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but the Wienermobile is, at heart, a rolling public relations firm, with Abraham and Jabbar organizing promotions, contributing to brand social content, and pitching stories to TV, radio and print media as they travel.
“It’s basically a P.R. firm on wheels in a giant hot dog,” Abraham said.
Getting into the groove of their year-long tour of duty in Oscar Mayer’s promotional wiener wagon, the Hotdogger duo, quite frankly, are having a doggone good time “meating” new people wherever they go.
Area emergency services personnel enjoyed a light-hearted moment between run calls when they visited the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile during its A…
A native of Lubbock, Texas and a marketing graduate of the University of Texas-Austin, Abraham comes to the job with a background of having done improv comedy on the side for two troupes during college.
“It’s really a dream job, a job like no other and the best job in the world I’d say,” Abraham said of the “wienerful” experience of being a Hotdogger. “There’s no day like the other. They came and recruited at my school and I was hooked. It’s really the best way to see the country — from the view of an American icon itself. There’s nothing like it. It’s a real honor to get to explore the world like this. You’re bringing joy to people wherever you go. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Philadelphia native Jabbar, a marketing graduate of Penn State University, agrees.
“It’s the best job that I could ask for,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. The best part of the job is meeting so many different kinds of people that you probably wouldn’t otherwise meet. We’re very honored, very ‘lucky dogs’ as we say, to be chosen to drive the Wienermobile. It’s super.”
Jabbar signed up after Oscar Mayer made a recruiting visit at Penn State.
“I had never heard of the Wienermobile before, I didn’t know what it was,” he recalled. “They gave their spiel and I was like, ‘This is the most amazing thing ever. I have to do this.’ And so I applied. I had always wanted to travel the country and meet new people. To do it through one of the biggest American icons in the world is amazing — see new places, meet new people and bring smiles to people. What better job can you have than to make people happy?”
With scores of people honking, waving and flashing thumbs-up on the road, the head-turning “company car” brings “miles of smiles” joy wherever it goes.
A rolling spectacle worthy of legendary American showman Phineas T. Barnum, the Wienermobile is, unquestionably, a people-magnet, drawing both the awe-struck young and the nostalgic young-at-heart yearning for a taste for yesteryear, all eager for selfies with the Wienermobile and the Hotdogger duo, as well as the chance to score free tchotchke, including the tuneful plastic wiener whistles that have been a beloved Oscar Mayer marketing staple since 1952.
“The kids, obviously, love it, but a lot of times the adults are more excited about it because they grew up with it,” Jabbar said. “We can bring back those memories, that nostalgia, those ‘I remember when…’ moments for people. It’s a lot of fun, and an honor really.”
Indeed, when each of the half-dozen barbe-cute Wienermobiles makes one of its 1,200-plus scheduled annual stops, everyone walks away a wiener — er, winner.
The early birds to see the Wienermobile at Daniels Foods got to spin the “everyone’s a wiener” prize wheel for a variety of Oscar Mayer swag including t-shirts, hats, cups and sunglasses.
Brothers Tyler (foreground) and Blake Daniels, the fourth generation to head independent, family-owned Daniels Foods in Walworth, grilled up s…
Among those coming out to see the Wienermobile on Aug. 18 was Grace Hirte of Delavan.

Taking a selfie photo for posterity, Grace Hirte of Delavan was among the more than 800 area residents and visitors stopping by to see the ico…
“The Wienermobile has just been around for so long, it’s a part of history — it’s just so doggone cute, the commercials growing up were so fun, and I actually do like hot dogs,” she said. “It’s a great part of Americana and I love it. For an opportunity to see it this close to home, I just had to stop, take a look and take a picture.”
Also in the crowd of Wienermobile fans was Steve Hackman of Walworth, who last saw the Wienermobile multiple iterations ago in 1956 at St. Charles, Ill. when he was in grade school.
“I couldn’t forget it,” he recalled of the experience, which included an appearance by popular midget Oscar Mayer chef mascot Little Oscar. “There were so many happy faces. Everybody was happy back then to see it. It was so neat, such a good time. And I’m glad I’m here again. It’s the same way now.”
Among those seeing the Wienermobile for the first time were young brothers Jeffery and Jacob Wogacik, of Sharon.
“It’s unique and interesting,” said Jacob, who noted he “maybe” would consider becoming a Hotdogger, saying “time will tell.”
The Wogacik family of Sharon – mom Sara and sons Jeffery (left) and Jacob (right) traveled to Daniels Foods in Walworth on Aug. 18 to see Osca…
Jacob he liked the bright orange and yellow colors of the Wienermobile, adding that driving the Wienermobile some day “would be really cool.”
Chris Schultz and Kathy Jaster of Walworth brought their three-month-old dachshund, Molly.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world as Walworth residents Chris Schultz (pictured) and Kathy Jaster brought their three-month-old dachshund, Molly, to se…
“We gotta have the wiener dog by the Wienermobile,” Jaster said. “We thought it would make some good pictures, just to have fun.”
Blake and Tyler Daniels, the fourth generation at the helm of independent, family-owned Daniels Foods, a Sentry-affiliated supermarket with stores in Walworth and Janesville, grilled up some 800 Oscar Mayer wieners at the flagship Walworth store for hungry shoppers and Wienermobile fans.
“The Wienermobile was very well received by everyone,” Blake said. “It is a spectacle that cannot be ignored. We haven’t seen the Wienermobile since 2016, so it was great to have it at the store for the encore of our anniversary sale. The Wienermobile, free swag and hot dogs was definitely a boost to our typical Thursday.”
Oscar Mayer Hot Dog High Class of 2022 Hotdoggers Katherine “Sauerkraut Kat” Abraham, of Lubbock, Texas, and “Cookout Christian” Jabbar, of Ph…
Each year, thousands of applicants vie for the 0.17% chance of being selected as one of Oscar Mayer’s 12 goodwill ambassador Hotdoggers – regional teams of two fanning across the country in the company’s fleet of six custom-made Wienermobiles.
“It’s statistically harder to become a Hotdogger than to get in an Ivy League school,” Jabbar noted.
Oscar Mayer Wienermobile Hotdogger Christian Jabbar, a Philadelphia native and Penn State marketing graduate, sits behind the wheel of the Wie…
After six months on the job, Hotdoggers are assigned new regions and new partners. By the end of their year-long 100% travel stint with the company, Hotdoggers will have visited some 20-30 states with the Wienermobile.
“It’s a coast-to-coast wienie roast,” Jabbar said.
After her tour of duty wraps up next June, Abraham plans to pursue advertising as a career.
“It’s hard to imagine any job being as good, but I’m planning on going into advertising – if I cut the mustard,” she deadpans.
Jabbar, meanwhile, plans to go into sports marketing after his Hotdogger days draw to a close.
Being Hotdoggers, they say, will provide a “frank-tastic” jump-start for their fledgling professional careers — and that’s no bologna.
“When we go into any community, part of our job is to make connections — create stories, create memories for people,” Abraham said. “It’s the most intimate form of marketing you can do and the most on-the-ground. It’s an experience like no other, dealing with national media to local media to just getting lucky and somebody making a viral video. It’s a real combination of everything that you probably would need to know in the marketing world. That’s what I’m hoping and leaning on.”
Jabbar agrees.
“I think it’ll help professionally — and in life,” he said. “We’re meeting all kinds of people from all walks of life that maybe we wouldn’t have if we didn’t have this job. We’re running our own P.R. firm here. Being spokespeople for the Wienermobile, for Oscar Mayer, teaches you how to represent yourself in both a professional and a fun way.”
As for me, forget the fancy red sports car. I’m setting my middle age crisis sights on hitting the open road behind the wheel of WEENR, hoping 15 years volunteering behind the wheel of ambulance and fire apparatus will help Oscar Mayer officials overlook the increasingly vintage 1987 date on my diploma from Marquette University.
Chatting with Jabbar beside the Wienermobile, I throw out buns and buns of hot dog-related puns like Bob Hope throwing out one-liners at a U.S.O. show.
“You’re better at this than me,” Jabbar said.
I ask Jabbar if Oscar Mayer takes 57-year-old Wienermobile Hotdogger wannabes.
“You can always apply,” he said. “Applications open in January, but typically it’s for, like, recent-ish college graduates. But anyone can apply though, anyone can apply.”
I guess it’ll depend on what Oscar Mayer’s definition of “recent-ish” is.
“You might really floor them,” Jabbar said. “Who knows?”
“Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile driver, that it what I’d truly like to be-ee-ee…”
Johnson 
Oscar Mayer Wienermobile “WEENR” and Hotdogger brand ambassadors Katherine “Sauerkraut Kay” Abraham, of Lubbock, Texas, and “Cookout Christian…
Oscar Mayer Wienermobile Hotdogger “Cookout Christian” Jabbar, a Philadelphia native and Penn State University marketing graduate, takes a pho…
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It’s a dog-eat-dog world as Walworth residents Chris Schultz (pictured) and Kathy Jaster brought their three-month-old dachshund, Molly, to see the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile during an Aug. 18 promotional stop at Daniels Foods in Walworth. Said Jaster, “We … thought we gotta have the wiener dog by the Wienermobile. We thought it would make some good pictures, just to have fun.”
Area emergency services personnel enjoyed a light-hearted moment between run calls when they visited the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile during its Aug. 18 appearance at Daniels Foods in Walworth. Pictured from left are EMTs Eric Olsen and Jay Buchanan, EMR Jessica Grabowski and AEMT Molly Forstrom.
Taking a selfie photo for posterity, Grace Hirte of Delavan was among the more than 800 area residents and visitors stopping by to see the iconic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile during its five-hour Aug. 18 stop at Sentry-affiliated Daniels Foods in Walworth. Said Hirte, “The Wienermobile has just been around so long, it’s a part of history … the commercials growing up were fun, and I actually do like hot dogs. It’s a great part of Americana and I love it. For an opportunity to see it this close to home, I just had to stop, take a look and take a picture.”
The Wogacik family of Sharon – mom Sara and sons Jeffery (left) and Jacob (right) traveled to Daniels Foods in Walworth on Aug. 18 to see Oscar Mayer’s iconic Wienermobile. Said Sara, who thought it would be “fun” for her boys to see the Wienermobile, “It’s something different, something fun for the community.” Jacob called the Wienermobile “unique and interesting, while Jacob proclaimed the 7-ton rolling fiberglass wienie “cool,” noting he liked its bright colors.
Oscar Mayer Wienermobile Hotdogger Christian Jabbar, a Philadelphia native and Penn State marketing graduate, sits behind the wheel of the Wienermobile during an Aug. 18 press tour of the vehicle’s hot dog-themed interior during a promotional stop at Daniels Foods in Walworth. Jabbar calls being an Oscar Mayer Hotdogger brand ambassador a “frank-tastic” opportunity: “I had never heard of the Wienermobile before, I didn’t know what it was. They gave their spiel and I was like, ‘This is the most amazing thing ever. I have to do this.” And so I applied … What better job can you have than to make people happy?”
Oscar Mayer Wienermobile Hotdogger Katherine “Sauerkraut Kat” Abraham, a Lubbock, Texas native and marketing graduate of the University of Texas-Austin, takes a photo for Wienermobile fans during a five-hour Aug. 18 promotional stop at Daniels Foods in Walworth to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary. Two months into her year-long stint as an Oscar Mayer Hotdogger brand ambassador, Abraham relishes her public relations and marketing role with the Madison-based firm. Said Abraham of being a Hotdogger, “It’s really a dream job, a job like no other and the best job in the world I’d say … It’s really the best way to see the country – from the view of an American icon itself.”
Brothers Tyler (foreground) and Blake Daniels, the fourth generation to head independent, family-owned Daniels Foods in Walworth, grilled up some 800 Oscar Mayer wieners on Aug. 18 when Oscar Mayer’s iconic Wienermobile made a five-hour promotional stop to mark Daniels Foods’ centennial anniversary. Sentry-affiliated Daniels Foods operates supermarkets in Walworth and Janesville. Said Blake of the visit, “The Wienermobile … is a spectable that cannot be ignored. We haven’t seen the Wienermobile since 2016, so it was great to have it at the store for the encore of our anniversary sale. The Wienermobile, free swag and hot dogs was … well received by all.”
Oscar Mayer Hot Dog High Class of 2022 Hotdoggers Katherine “Sauerkraut Kat” Abraham, of Lubbock, Texas, and “Cookout Christian” Jabbar, of Philadelphia, handed out a variety of Oscar Mayer- and Wienermobile-themed swag during an Aug. 18 appearance at Daniels Foods in Walworth to celebrate the independent, family-owned supermarket company’s centennial anniversary. Giveaways include lanyards, tote bags, stickers, t-shirts, hats, cups, sunglasses and the iconic red and yellow plastic wiener whistles that have been a beloved Oscar Mayer marketing staple for 70 years.
Daniels Foods deli employee Madeline Wanecke, of Lake Geneva, was among those checking out Oscar Mayer’s iconic Wienermobile during its Aug. 18 visit at Daniels Foods in Walworth to mark the independent, family-owned supermarket’s 100th anniversary celebration. Said Wanecke of the Wienermobile, “I like it. It’s kind of interesting – how it’s shaped and how it looks inside. It’s just something cool … I’m excited.”
Oscar Mayer Wienermobile “WEENR” and Hotdogger brand ambassadors Katherine “Sauerkraut Kay” Abraham, of Lubbock, Texas, and “Cookout Christian Jabbar, of Philadelphia, made a five-hour Aug. 18 promotional stop at Daniels Foods in Walworth to celebrate the independent, family-owned supermarket’s centennial anniversary. Daniels Foods sponsored an Oscar Mayer wiener cookout and the Hotdoggers distributed an array of complimentary Oscar Mayer swag including lanyards, tote bags, stickers, t-shirts, hats, cups, sunglasses and wiener whistles.
Oscar Mayer Wienermobile Hotdogger “Cookout Christian” Jabbar, a Philadelphia native and Penn State University marketing graduate, takes a photo for Wienermobile fans during a five-hour Aug. 18 promotional stop at Daniels Foods in Walworth to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary. Two months into his year-long stint as an Oscar Mayer Hotdogger brand ambassador, Jabbar relishes his public relations and marketing role with the Madison-based firm. Said Jabbar of being a Hotdogger, “I had never heard of the Wienermobile before, I didn’t know what it was. They gave their spiel and I was like, ‘This is the most amazing thing ever. I have to do this.” And so I applied … What better job can you have than to make people happy?”
Johnson 

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