A food often reserved for grill outs, serving to little kids, and state fairs, hot dogs tend to be irrelevant by the time you reach adulthood. The reaction adults have when I proudly state that I love hot dogs is a mix of surprise and, "Really? Hot dogs?" With great shock, I like to respond by explaining that these bites of heaven on a bun provide a simple yet irreplaceable joy. Call me dramatic, but I think anything to do with hot dogs is good news, and I'm determined to spread more frank content. Enter: the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

The instant I heard about this giant wiener on wheels, I knew I needed to hear more. I mean, how could it not be amazing? So, I interviewed Saint Louis University's very own alumna and hotdogger, Barb Heidkamp, to learn the details. Spoiler alert: although they don't hand out hot dogs, they do something even better. 

Tell me more about the Wienermobile. What do you do on a daily basis?

"As a hotdogger I spend most days planning events, pitching media and most importantly just making people smile. We go to events like farmers markets or nursing home visits and help take photos, play trivia and give out our iconic weenie whistles."

The Wienermobile program got its start during the Great Depression. It's goal was simply to bring joy into peoples' day, which is something that will never be irrelevant. 

Barb shared how she gets to meet new people from all over, traveling around 500 miles per week. She calls her life on the road, "the life of Zack and Cody in great hotels around the hot dog highways of America." 

You've mentioned that this has been a lifelong dream of yours. When did you first start dreaming of having this job? 

"I grew up singing the jingle and with a dog named Oscar. My family is a huge OM fam. I knew it was a long shot to get this job but it was always something in the back of my head." 

Most importantly, Barb loves hotdogs.  I can't imagine someone would commit to driving in a 23 foot frank if they didn't even like eating one, but I had to make sure she was part of the hot dog lovers club.

What has it been like being back in STL with your hot ride? 

"It was a dream come true to bring it back to places like Forest Park and College Church." Barb spent the weekend doing stops at nursing homes, Ted Drewes, Forest Park, and Eckert's Farm. She got to share her nostalgia with her partner Nina, who she said, "has become my family on the road for the past three months, so it was amazing to show her where most my stories took place."

Hotdogger's Are Day-Makers

Overall, the Wienermobile is so much more than a crazy vehicle. It brings people together, spreading smiles and weenie whistles wherever it goes. As Barb put it, "People are amazing. It doesn’t matter where you are in the country but food brings people together. Almost every person I meet has an, 'I remember when' moment surrounding our brand. To me, that is incredible."

Hot dogs are nostalgia covered in ketchup, and the joy they bring extends past actually eating them. Hotdoggers like Barb are connecting with strangers from all over creation, every day! This could quite possibly be the most pure and wholesome job ever. Not to mention the Wienermobile is perfect to add to my "Reasons for Loving Hotdogs" list. But hey, even if you don't enjoy a good old fashioned frank, keep an eye out for the Wienermobile. Your day just might get a little brighter.  

Follow @dogdayswithbarbbq for more smiles