Chelsea Purgahn

cpurgahn@tylerpaper.com

 

If you're driving around Tyler this week and happen to see a giant hot dog on wheels on the road, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you - the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile is in town.

John Craft and Mayra Martinez, known by their Oscar Mayer names Jumbo Dog John and Spicy Mayo Mayra, drove the famous Wienermobile into town Tuesday and will spend time in Tyler and Lindale before heading to Louisiana as part of their travels - about 500 miles a week - to host various community events and brand promotions.

"It's been a bunderful time, as we say. We're on a wiener roast from coast to coast," Craft said, noting that he has visited about 25 states spanning four time zones and Martinez has visited 17 states in their time driving various Wienermobiles since June.

Nearly 1,500 recent college graduates apply for a chance to drive one of six Oscar Mayer Wienermobiles, "and we were part of the 12 lucky dogs that cut the mustard," Craft said of being selected for the yearlong road trip.

For this driving duo, the puns come easy and things are measured in terms of hot dogs. In fact, the Wienermobile is the length of about 60 hot dogs and as heavy as 140,500 hot dogs, according to Craft. 

But it's not just fun facts fueling this ride. 

"We love meeting people on the road, interacting with families and getting to know how the Wienermobile has impacted their life over the years," Martinez said.

Craft said he enjoys the connections he makes in the communities they visit.

"The Wienermobile helps make America feel like a small town again," he said. "You can interact with complete strangers and become friends when they come see the Wienermobile."

The top question Martinez and Craft hear is, "do you serve hot dogs?" While they don't serve hot dogs, they do allow plenty of photo ops with hot dog cutouts as well as a tour inside the vehicle. And they're happy to hand out the famous wiener whistles to visitors.

The pair's Wienermobile is free, family-friendly, bilingual and welcoming to those with special needs.

Cheryl Kauffmann happened upon the vehicle in the parking lot of the Tyler hotel where she was staying with her children and grandchildren. Kauffmann rode a Wienermobile when she was young and was thrilled share that same experience with her kids. 

"It's so much fun," she said. "The kids don't know how far (the Wienermobile) goes back, and we're fixing to teach them the classic Oscar Mayer song."

Craft had the perfect pun for that. 

"Relish the moment together, to be frank," he said, and encouraged those in Tyler and Lindale to do the same in the next few days.

You can find Jumbo Dog John and Spicy Mayo Mayra with the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at the following Wal-Marts through the rest of the week:

3-7 p.m. Thursday, 3820 State Highway 64, Tyler

3-7 p.m. Friday, 5050 Troup Highway, Tyler

10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday, 6801 S. Broadway Ave., Tyler

11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sunday, 105 Centennial Blvd., Lindale

 

 

 
 

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