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Duluth wishes it were an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

Lucas Powell and Finnley Powell strike their best pose in front of the Wienermobile on April 5. The hot dog-shaped vehicle was in the area as part of its Midwest tour. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)1 / 3
Morgan Petersen (left), 10, and Alyssa Petersen, 8, both of Duluth pose in hot dog cutouts with the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile during a stop at Super One Foods in West Duluth. (Clint Austin / / 3
This Wienermobile is one of six that travel across the country to give out wiener whistles and stickers. Each Wienermobile has its own distinctive customized license plate. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)3 / 3

Some children dream of growing up, working their ideal job, and driving the perfect car. For Molly Segall, that dream car happened to be a 27-foot long hot dog on wheels. 

“I’m from Madison, which is where Oscar Mayer is headquartered, so I’ve wanted to do this since I was eight,” Segall said.

Segall’s dream came true last June and she and her fellow “hotdogger” Hannah Carlson “cut the mustard” to become Wienermobile drivers for Oscar Mayer. On Saturday, April 5,

the two pulled into the Super One on Bristol St. to “ketchup” with Wienermobile enthusiasts of all ages.

“This is why we got up today. I’ve never seen it in person before,” said visitor Anna Abbott of Duluth.

Abbott brought her daughters Grace and Leah to see the giant hot dog.

“They were screaming in the car because they were so excited,” Abbott said.

The unique auto was parked in front of Super One and allowed visitors to get an inside look at the “mustard and ketchup” colored seats and hot dog-shaped dashboard. The hotdoggers handed out Wiener Whistles, stickers and postcards.

The car was in the area for a couple of days, making stops in Two Harbors and Forrest Lake.

“That’s what I love about this job! I love getting to go to all these places. All these tiny towns you never get the chance to go to,” Segall said.

Segall and Carlson are two of 12 hotdoggers that travel nationwide in six Wienermobiles. The drivers are recent college graduates who sign on for a year.

“I’ve seen 28 states. I’ve been all the way from New York to San Diego to Bellingham, Wash. We’ve seen everything, from towns as big as New York to towns as small as Casper, Wyoming. They loved the Wienermobile there – it was one of my favorite stops,” Carlson said.

That does mean a lot of driving time, but the hotdoggers pass the hours on the road listening to books on tape and podcasts and singing along to the radio.

“Hannah did the Harry Potter books on tape. When she went from New York to San Diego, she went through the entire series,” Segall said.

What’s it like driving the 14,050 lb. (approximately 140,500 hot dogs) vehicle?

“It’s pretty easy once you get used to it, it’s like driving a normal car. We have a lot of drivers training that prepares us for driving the Wienermobile,” Carlson said.

The hotdoggers train at “Hot Dog High.” They are assigned to a region and a partner for six months. Carlson had a friend who went through the program ahead of her and knew it was what she wanted to do once she graduated with her strategic communications degree.

“I was following him on his adventure with all his photos and hearing his stories. And I thought, this job is so absurd but so cool that I have to try for it,” Carlson said.

The Wienermobile may have found some future recruits.

“It’s so cool! I would drive it, but you’d have to take up two spots,” Lucas Powell said when he saw the vehicle.

The Wienermobile had a few four-legged visitors. Kim and her son Eric Sampson brought their dachshunds Ava and Oscar. That’s right, there was a “wiener dog” named Oscar next to the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

“I love when people bring their wiener dogs. We were told by a couple of people that we should get a wiener dog as our mascot, and we’re like, that’s fine with us,” Segall said.

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Budgeteer.

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