This Davidson College Student Graduated to the Driver’s Seat of Oscar Mayer’s ‘Frankmobile’

It is easier to get into an Ivy League university than it is to be selected to be one of the 12 official spokespeople who drive an Oscar Mayer Frankmobile, but Davidson College grad Emily Schmitt made the cut. Here's what aspiring
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Published on August 25, 2023
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Image Credit: Emily Schmitt
  • Oscar Mayer's "Wienermobile" has been traversing the country since 1963.
  • "Hotdoggers," now referred to as "Frankfurters," drive the hot dog-shaped vehicle.
  • College graduates can apply to be Frankfurters and spend a year driving the Frankmobile and attending hot dog events.

Newly minted Davidson College grad Emily Schmitt is getting priceless experience in her first job: Driving down Midwest highways in a 27-foot hot dog car.

Schmitt is one of 12 "Frankfurters" (née "Hotdoggers") employed by Oscar Mayer to drive one of six "Frankmobiles" around the country to spread the hot dog love (and give out coupons for free frankfurters to people named Frank).

Now known professionally as "Grill 'Em Up Emily," Schmitt has traveled approximately 6,000 miles since starting the job in June alongside her partner "BBQ Brady."

So far, the hot doggin' duo has put on events, given away "Frank Whistles" (formerly Wiener Whistles) and run meet-and-greets with fans across Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Students posing with M&M mascot in front of Frankmobile
Image Credit: Emily Schmitt

"We will hit about 30 states in the whole year," Schmitt told BestColleges. "We do different events at grocery stores, festivals, parades, and things like set up, take pictures, give out whistles, give out stickers, all that good stuff. We're making people smile primarily."

Getting Into 'Hotdog High'

Schmitt graduated from Davidson College in spring 2023 with a degree in English. At Davidson, she helped organize student activity events. One of her best ideas, she recalled, was an attempt to bring the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and the Planter's Peanuts Nutmobile to campus to race each other.

While the race did not happen, Schmitt did end up applying to drive the Frankmobile, a job she said she never had considered before. But she thought she would do well at it considering her college background in event coordination and communications.

Schmitt says most of the Frankfurters come from a marketing or journalism background, but any graduating college senior can apply.

Newly accepted Frankfurters must go through two weeks of training at "Hotdog High" in Madison, Wisconsin before they can hit the road.

Schmitt said the 14 days consisted of media training, learning how to set up for events, and — of course — learning the history of the Frankmobile.

There have been several vehicle designs since the idea of a hot dog-inspired car was first introduced in 1936. What started as a 13-foot "Wienermobile" to promote Oscar Mayer's "German-style Wieners" grew to multiple 27-foot cars. The company changed the name of its fleet of Wienermobiles in May to celebrate the brand's 100% Beef Franks.

And of course, learning to drive the wurst is no easy task. Schmitt went through 40 hours of training with retired Madison police officers.

"I came from driving a Volkswagen bug. So [the Wienermobile] is definitely very different, but I described it as like a small RV," Schmitt said, "So it's got a bit of a bump to it, and you need to be more aware of how long it is because it's 27 feet long."

'Relishing' the Good Times

Schmitt loves looking out the window of the vehicle to see people smiling, waving, and pointing when the Wienermobile goes down the road.

"One of the best parts of the job is the look you get on the road because people just aren't really prepared to see you all the time," she said.

"The other day, we were going like 70 mph down the interstate, and someone stood up out of their sunroof to take a picture of us. It's the lengths they'll go to to get your attention on the road."

Student standing in front of Frankmobile
Image Credit: Emily Schmitt

Schmitt also reminisces about taking the Wienermobile to get washed, explaining how she has to go to fire stations and ask if she can use their equipment to clean the 27-foot vehicle.

"One time, we pulled up outside a fire station, just kind of like randomly, and rang the doorbell. The expression on the fireman's face when he came out and saw the mobile in the driveway — it was one of my most fond memories," she recalled.

Post-Grad College Life: What's the Wurst That Could Happen?

Schmitt has four more months traversing the Midwest before switching partners and regions, something she is not opposed to given the fact that she had little experience with freezing temperatures and winter weather growing up in Georgia.

"I've never felt like real winter, and my time in the Midwest will end in January," she explained. "So it'll be interesting to see how this job changes as the weather changes because we're outside all the time. Right now, I'm lathering up sunscreen, but soon it's going to be kind of layering and pants and boots."

While the job can be taxing, Schmitt says she recommends rising college seniors, who want to spend their first year post-grad building community, apply for the job.

"I think it's a really good job right out of college. There's definitely a shock of like, you're not in that built community anymore, so I think it's been very heartening to see the joy a post-college life can bring, even though this is so weird driving a hot dog around," she said.

"It's such a graduating college thing to think that I'd never been happy outside of college, but this job has shown me that I can bring joy to people, which is something that is very important to me."