‘Ketching up’ with Dorothy Spratlin ’19: A year on the road in the Wienermobile
When Dorothy Spratlin ’19 was younger, she met a woman during a family Christmas party who was dressed up as a hot dog. It made a big impression on her, but little did she know that she, too, would become an official Hotdogger when she got older.
Spratlin, a Vinings, Georgia, native, was selected to be an Oscar Mayer Hotdogger for the next year, which means she will be driving the Wienermobile around specific areas of the country. She joins an elite group — only 12 were selected for the job from more than 7,000 applicants. She reported to Oscar Mayer world headquarters in Chicago this month for training to prepare her for her assignment to the Southeast and return to Greenville, South Carolina, in July.
Her job duties? In addition to driving the Wienermobile, she’ll be serving as an ambassador for Oscar Mayer at state fairs, birthday parties, community parades, Walmart parking lots and just about anywhere. The Wienermobile, which has been around since 1936, is so popular that Oscar Mayer can’t fulfill all of the requests it receives.
As she prepared to begin her adventure, Spratlin explained what the experience been like and what lies ahead:
What do most people say when you tell them what you’re doing?
People make a lot of hot dog jokes. Like, “relish this opportunity.” Or “get excited to meat a bunch of people.” But when I interviewed with Oscar Mayer, they were big on hot dog jokes, too.
What’s your favorite hot dog joke?
Frankly, having to pick just one is the wurst. Really puts me in a pickle. Most of my hot dog buns are real wieners, but I’ll mustard up the courage to choose just one. When I’m on the road, I’ll have to ketchup on some better buns but for now, here it is … have fun relishing it. “Did you see the movie about the hot dog?” “It was an Oscar wiener.”
What was your parents’ initial reaction?
When I told them I was going to apply, they were like, “Um, you’ve been talking about this for years. Don’t you know how competitive it is? You’re not going to get it.” But I said I was going to apply anyway. When I got it, I called my mom in tears and she was like, “What’s wrong?” I said, “I got it! I got it!” And she started crying.
What’s the Wienermobile like? And what’s your job?
It’s a lot bigger than a normal car. It’s more like a truck. It has a lot of different ways to speed up and slow down. We do not sell hot dogs, but we do pass out wiener whistles!
What are you supposed to pack?
A lot less than you think you’re going to need. I have a duffle bag of uniform clothes. Beyond that, I’ll bring outfits I can go sightseeing in, since I’ll be exploring new places. They also said to bring some relaxation clothes because you’re going to need to lock yourself in your hotel room and veg out for a few hours after working.
What kind of advice have your friends given you?
Soak in your time with your friends and family now, because there’s a lot of loneliness on the job. And make a list of everyone you know in the cities you will visit, so they can come see you. It really gives you comfort to see somebody you know.
What are you going to do after your Hotdogger career?
I’m a biology major and I applied this past year to veterinary school. But I will be reapplying throughout the summer to start in a year. I’m hoping to go to vet school at the University of Georgia.
How do you like your hot dogs?
I like them with ketchup, mayonnaise, cheese, and sometimes onions … kinda weird.
Has it hit you yet how cool this is?
Yes! There are fewer people who have driven the Wienermobile than have ever flown into space!