Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends


If you’ve ever spotted the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, you know it’s like seeing a celebrity from an old sitcom you once loved: surprising, heart-warming and uplifting. Even if you don’t associate the Wienermobile with Happy Days-like nostalgia, nobody can resist smiling when they see a giant hot dog cruising down the street, unironically.

Imagine being in the driver’s seat of that hot dog and touring around the country in it.

hotdog1 to size

Jackson, or as he’s known on the road, “Pepper Jackson,” and his co-driver “Colby Jack Jenny” man one of six Oscar Mayer Wienermobiles currently rolling around the United States. In particular, the one they pilot has a vanity plate that reads “R DOG.”

Both recent college grads, they’ve been on the road since mid-June and will keep on their cross-country spin for a full year. They’ve already been to five Midwest states in the past month including Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“It goes up to 90 miles per hour, but I like to tell people it can really bun rubber,” Jackson said. The Wienermobile drivers, a.k.a. Hotdoggers, can spit out hot dog puns a mile a minute.

hotdog2 to size

Goofy roadside attractions have become a symbol of Americana, like the world’s largest ball of string in Cawker City, Kansas, and the Wienermobile is as Americana as it gets. Case in point: Fueling up at a gas station usually turns into a bit of a production. During one recent pit stop, a local news crew showed up within 10 minutes of the Hotdoggers.

“People get so genuinely excited to see the Wienermobile and get a look inside,” Jackson said. The best feeling, he says, is when people tell him that seeing the Wienermobile made their day—like this couple on their wedding day below.

hotdog3 to size

Jackson heard of the job from a college buddy and previous Hotdogger. It’s any young person’s dream—to get paid to drive around the country for a full year, unlimited hot dogs included.

“It was a chance of a lifetime, getting a year to explore the country,” Jackson said. “It wasn’t just the travel aspect of it that attracted me, but the idea of meeting a bunch of different people from different places.”

hotdog4 to size

Hotdoggers get a fair amount of down time in the towns they visit, but not all of their checkpoints are considered hot destination cities. The key to finding fun things to do is simple: Ask the locals. Of course, people might be more forthcoming to a guy drivinga giant hot dog, but it’s wise advice for any traveler.

Jackson said he’s learned to keep an open mind. Best practice is to forget any kind of previous notion about the places you’re visiting. Even the most obscure towns have something to offer. “Always seek a true experience. Always explore, always find what there is,” Jackson says. Clearly he’s been relishing the experience.

hotdog5 to size

Let’s be frank, though: First you have to land this dream job to gain any of that wiener wisdom. The big dogs at Oscar Mayer are looking for recent college graduates with great people skills who are outgoing and articulate. Other than traveling, Hotdoggers have to act as brand ambassadors for Oscar Mayer, so degrees in marketing, public relations, business and related fields are preferred.

Here are the beefy details of what you need to know before applying to be a Hotdogger:

  • Oscar Mayer gets more than 1,000 applications from all over the country to fill 12 Hotdogger positions each year.
  • It’s a one-year-long gig that starts and ends in June; applications for next year are accepted until Jan. 31, 2015.
  • The final round of interviews is held at their headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin.
  • The training program is called Hot Dog High.
  • Hot Dog High covers how to be a Hotdogger and drive the Wienermobile.
  • There are actual Wienermobile driving lessons in an empty parking lot.
  • For a full year, two Hotdoggers man each of the six vehicles.
  • Each Wienermobile is assigned a region of the U.S.
  • The Hotdoggers rotate regions after six months.
  • The average Hotdogger visits 23 states and travels about 25,000 miles per year.
  • Hotdoggers sleep in hotels while on the road and along with pay get a meal allowance (inquire within about the pay). No, they don’t live off hot dogs, but they get their fair share.

to size DSC02741

Tagged: Uncategorized

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Kelsie Ozamiz

Kelsie Ozamiz

Kelsie is a Chicago-based travel and entertainment writer. Sprouting from Columbus, Ohio, she spent two years in New York City sharpening her wit with improv comedy and mastering the blank subway stare. She keeps her figure with a steady diet of travel and tacos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *