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Thursday, Oct 30, 2014
Northwest News

College grads in Wienermobile pass through Tampa

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CITRUS PARK — When Molly Segall and Steve Johnson recently wheeled their vehicle through Tampa, they attracted more attention than others on the road.

Two recent college grads piloting an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile through the Southeast, they parked the 27-footer at two local Publix stores last weekend.

“This brings back good memories for me,” said Tami Scherrman, a self-proclaimed “Publix fanatic” who visited the 7835 Gunn Highway grocery not knowing the Wienermobile would be parked at the entry. “It’s just fun seeing this. I lived in small-town Iowa where it came down the street,” she said.

Segall provided souvenirs of the reunion, including a postcard with images of the many Wienermobile models since it first hit the road in 1936, plus the small but coveted “wiener whistle,” developed in 1951.

Six Wienermobiles travel six U.S. regions. Tampa area stops for the Southeast team included Publix stores at 5371 Ehrlich Road, plus New Port Richey, Bradenton and Sarasota. Segall and Johnson will visit the Southeast for half the year, then switch both partners and region.

“Every year, Oscar Mayer recruits at campuses across the United States looking for soon-to-be college graduates who have a thirst for adventure and truly can cut the mustard,” the company likes to say. From 1,200 applicants, 12 are selected.

“I’ve actually wanted to do this for quite a while,” said Segall, a University of Wisconsin grad.

Johnson, however, learned of the Wienermobile while selling hotdogs outside a Central Minnesota bar where he worked while attending St. John’s University. “You should drive that big hotdog,” a customer suggested, prompting Johnson to investigate. “Here I am, three years later.”

gwilkens@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7124

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