Michigan Man Has Cool Job Touring the U.S. in the Wienermobile
Whenever you see a 27 foot long hotdog driving down the road -- it gets your attention. Oscar Mayer has been promoting their hotdogs with their Wienermobile for decades. Just a handful of lucky individuals are hired to be a "hotdogger" -- the person who drives the giant hotdog to the different events around the country. A Michigan man is one of those twelve "hotdoggers".
Hotdogger Benny Buns Grew Up in Michigan
Ben Godfrey grew up in West Michigan in the Rockford area. His family then relocated to the east side of the state and he attended high school in Detroit. Most kids grow up wanting to be a baseball player, or a doctor, or an astronaut. Benny's childhood dream was to be hotdogger and follow in his uncle's footsteps -- who was a Wienermobile driver in 1990-1991.
The Road to Being a Driver of the Wienermobile
"Benny Buns" attended college in Ohio at the University of Dayton, where he studied Finance and minored in Sales and Entrepreneurship. Prior to his graduation in May of this year, last January he applied for the "hotdogger" job. The process began with him writing a cover letter. If you are lucky, you get invited to an interview. There were over 2,000 applicants this year -- and that number is whittled down to just 12 drivers -- those who "cut the mustard"! Those lucky dozen people go on to attend "Hotdog High" for two weeks to learn how to drive a monster hotdog on four wheels.
The Life of a Hotdogger
A Hotdogger spends a year living on the road, visiting various events around the country. Their live is staying at hotels at night and then driving a 27 foot hot dog around the United States during the day. Benny is assigned to the midwest team along with his teammate Ketchup Kaitlyn. Since hitting the road on June 5th, in just six weeks on the road they have already visited eight different states. In January, he will be assigned a new partner and also a different Wienermobile. (There are six different Wienermobiles.) By the end of his year long job, he hopes to have visited between 20-25 states.
Here is a picture of the Wienermobile at Holland State Park...
Some of the Challenges as a Driver of the Wienermobile
Parking can be a struggle. Recently Benny had to parallel park the Wienermobile on the streets of downtown Grand Rapids for an appearance at the Children's Museum. They also have what they refer to as "Wienermobile Time". Everything takes longer...even just stopping to fuel up. Once people see the giant hotdog at a location, they flock to see it a little closer. Just a simple stop for gas can be a minimum of a 20 minute visit talking to people who want to check out the giant mobile hotdog.
What will it be like to drive the Wienermobile in the winter? Benny has yet to experience winter driving on snow and ice with the Wienermobile, but he's hoping it handles just fine.
You Can Still Get a Wienermobile Whistle
Since 1952, Hotdoggers have been handing out the little plastic Wienermobile Whistles. You can only get these things by talking to a Hotdogger. If you see the Wienermobile, stop and find out more information about it -- and walk away whistling a tune on your new Wienermobile Whistle.
Life After the Year of Being a Hotdogger
The job of driving the Wienermobile is only for a one year period, however Benny says that the parent company, Kraft Heinz, does their best to retain good workers and the job often opens up doors for the drivers.