By Nancy Allen
The Oscar Mayer weiner mobile has rolled into Mercer County and will be visiting Chief supermarkets in Celina, Coldwater, St. Marys and Wapakoneta beginning tomorrow.
The Oscar Mayer company has six of them that travel throughout the United States. Driving the weiner mobile that arrived in Mercer County Wednesday night are Katie Ryan, 22 and Kimberly Roth, 24. The pair are staying at the West Bank Inn in Celina.
Ryan said she and Roth, both recent graduates of the University of Texas, have the best job in the world.
"I have the greatest job ... to make people happy," Ryan said during a phone interview this morning, heavily laced with hot dog puns. "What can be better than that."
Ryan said there are thousands of applicants for the driving jobs every year and only 12 are hired. "Kim and I are just glad we cut the mustard," Ryan said.
The weiner mobile, a longtime icon of Americana, is a 27-footlong replica of an Oscar Mayer weiner nestled in a bun on wheels. It is 11-feet-high and 8-feet-wide. It weighs the equivalent of 140,000 hot dogs and runs on "high octane mustard," Ryan said.
The inside roof of the weiner mobile is painted to look like the sky and instead of a sun roof, it has a "bun" roof, Ryan said.
On Friday, the weiner mobile will be on display at the Coldwater Chief supermarket from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the Celina Chief from 3-6 p.m. and on Saturday it will be at the St. Marys Chief from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the Wapakoneta Chief from 3-6 p.m.
People can pay a buck to have a Polaroid picture taken with the weiner mobile. All proceeds will go to Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Kraft, which owns Oscar Mayer, will match the amount raised up to $100,000, Ryan said.
"Oscar Mayer has always been that American icon, a very family friendly and fun company," Ryan said. "It just goes perfect with Big Brothers/Big Sisters."
Ryan said she and Roth have already traveled through six states and will travel through 42 more before their trek is done some time later this year.
There is a certain allure to the weiner mobile and many people wish they could drive it for just one day. This year, some of those people's wishes will come true.
Ryan said as part of a promotional contest that ended July 29, 50 people across the United States had the chance to win the weiner mobile for a day. Officials are still judging the contest and Oscar Mayer will begin fulfilling those wishes in September.
"People want it for weddings and tailgate parties and things like that," Ryan said. "And that's really cool."