Wienermobile rolling into Oak Harbor on Thursday

Taylor Lennox and Mayra Martinez don’t need to wish to be an Oscar Mayer wiener — they already drive one.

Taylor Lennox (left) and Mayra Martinez drive one of six Wienermobiles that travel throughout the United States for Oscar Mayer.

Taylor Lennox (left) and Mayra Martinez drive one of six Wienermobiles that travel throughout the United States for Oscar Mayer.

Taylor Lennox and Mayra Martinez don’t need to wish to be an Oscar Mayer wiener — they already drive one.

The two young women scored the job of a lifetime piloting a gigantic wheeled version of the iconic Oscar Mayer meat product along the West Coast.

They’re planning to make a stop in Oak Harbor Thursday at Haggen Foods from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public is invited to get an up close look at the Wienermobile.

Haggen plans a hot dog lunch with the proceeds benefiting Spin Cafe, which serves the city’s homeless.

Both the drivers — Hotdoggers, officially — said the role is just as much fun as you might guess, although it entails behind-the-scene work, including updating the Wienermobile’s adventures on social media, scheduling promotional events and conducting media interviews.

“There’s a lot that goes into it,” Lennox said. “You don’t just drive this thing around.”

Both women are 22-year-old college graduates, who beat out 1,200 other applicants for the job. They’ve been on the road a matter of weeks. Oscar Mayer, which is owned by Kraft Heinz, recruited Lennox at Penn State, where she studied broadcast journalism.

Lennox, a Philadelphia native, was president of her sorority and news director at a local radio station, and she thinks her mix of leadership skills and outgoing personality helped clinch the job.

All Hotdoggers work one year, and they attend a training camp called Hotdog High in Madison, Wisc. — the home of the original Oscar Mayer’s plant. The drivers don’t need a commercial driver’s license but they do receive extensive training from Madison police, including how to parallel park to avoid “scratching our buns.”

Until now, Martinez hasn’t traveled much out of her native state of Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley with a business administration major.

“At first my family didn’t know what it was,” she said. “But now they are freaking out … This is awesome.”

The Wienermobile is a custom fiberglass hotdog and bun on a Chevrolet W4 series chassis. Inside there’s seating for six in ketchup and mustard colored seats and a condiment splattered carpet.

Driving the Wienermobile is a bit like driving “a hotdog-shaped RV,” Lennox said. Sitting up high in the seat took some getting used to after driving a Hyundai, she said. So, too, did the constant honking and waving from excited drivers. In Philly, a honk from another driver usually came with a different gesture.

If she pleases, she can honk back. Her horn plays the well-loved Oscar Mayer jingle.

Yes, the Hotdoggers will be giving out the iconic wiener whistles. The Wienermobile stores up to 11,000.

The Hotdoggers don’t give out too many rides in the Wienermobile anymore — partly because there isn’t time and partly because it gets hot inside after it sits in a grocery store parking lot. Instead, they plan to set up a virtual reality station where visitors can put on a headset fitted with a smart phone that gives the experience of riding inside. The feature is available along with their schedule on the free Wienermobile app for smartphones.

This is both women’s first visit to the Pacific Northwest. Earlier this week they hiked on Mount Rainer and took the Wienermobile for a spin through Pike Place Market in Seattle.

“That was hilarious,” Lennox said. “People were jumping out to stop us and take photos.”

One of their favorite parts of the job is hearing about people’s memories of the Wienermobile. And weiner dogs. They love it when people bring their Dachshund pups for a photo-op.

“We have a collection of photos of the Wienermobile with people’s weiner dogs,” Lennox said.

As of Tuesday, the Hotdoggers weren’t sure if they would take the Wienermobile on the Clinton ferry or drive over Deception Pass Bridge. After stopping in Oak Harbor, they plan to visit Haggen stores in Stanwood Friday and in Snohomish and Marysville Sunday.


More in News

North Whidbey man jailed for car insurance fraud

Arnold F. Bodner, 58, pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court April 16 to a single count of insurance false claim, which was a felony charge because the amount of the claim exceeded $1,500.

VQ-1 ‘World Watcher’ gains new commander

Cmdr. David Van Kampen has assumed command of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron… Continue reading

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Junior Michael McKinney uses an arc welder to make a trailer hitch for a shed the class is making.
OHHS to expand skills classes with new building

The building may be used for engineering, manufacturing, automotive and construction classes that are in high demand.

Meeting set to interview three for assessor position

The Island County Republican Party Central Committee was tasked with nominating three people to replace Mary Engle, who resigned as the elected assessor earlier this year to become planning director.

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
The Coupeville-Port Townsend ferry route will stay on one-boat service until at least June 27.
Coupeville route down to one ferry through June 27

Another delay in two-boat service means Coupeville ferry riders will need to squeeze onto one boat until at least June 27.

Oak Harbor will have Fourth of July fireworks, parade

This year’s event will look slightly different to comply with safety guidelines.

Car crashes into building, boat during police chase

The car went through a building, struck a “Zodiac type boat” and came to rest against the far wall, the deputy’s report states.

District names interim superintendent

School board members unanimously voted for Karst Brandsma

Worker will begin wrapping the Deception Pass bridge this month as they try to complete the project by the end of the year. The parking lot on Whidbey Island next to the bridge will be closed until March. WSDOT photo
Deception Pass bridge parking lot closed until March

The closure is supposed to ease access for construction crews as they work on the bridge.

Most Read