Gabriella Medvick ’18 (SFA), aka Grillin’ Gabz, was one of the 12 lucky hotdoggers hired to cruise the 27-foot-long bright yellow and orange Oscar Mayer Wienermobile cross country for the past year. So far she’s driven from Texas to Maine at speeds up to 75 m.p.h. (abiding by the speed limit of course) to get the word out about Oscar Meyer’s new preservative- and nitrate-free hot dogs. Before hitting the road, Medvick took serious driving lessons at “Hot Dog High” in Madison, Wisconsin, where she also learned more than a few hot dog puns. We caught up with her when the tour brought her back to UConn. As the first alum to be hired for this position, Medvick says she couldn’t wait to show UConn Nation her new set of wheels and ketchup with her fellow Huskies. “My UConn education was so hands-on — it gave me the right experience to cut the mustard and drive the Wienermobile,” she says.
Being one of only 12 lucky dogs picked to drive the Wienermobile this year makes you a real wiener. How many applicants were there?
There were more than 3,000 applicants last year!
How did you learn about the job? Was it something you always relished doing?
I found out about the hotdogger position when I was 12 and I saw the Wienermobile with my mom for the first time. Ever since then it has been something that, quite frankly, I’ve always wanted to do.
When was the Wienermobile born?
Be frank, there must be some mishaps driving a 27-foot long hotdog? What’s the craziest thing that has happened on the road?
I remember we were in New York to do an interview with the Major League Baseball Network and we gave a ride to hosts Lauren Shehadi and Harold Reynolds on the Wienermobile. We opened the sun roof and started singing “Take Me Out to The Ballgame” through a microphone as we were driving. It was cool because they’re so popular in the New York area and people immediately recognized them. But driving through the streets of New York was crazy from start to finish. The streets were so narrow and there were so many people and cars. It was different since 95% percent of our driving is done on highways or residential streets where there are no people and not many cars. While at Hot Dog High, they warned us about this situation, but in New York we finally experienced it in real life. And we came out accident free.
What kind of training did you receive at Hot Dog High?
Our driver’s training starts off with two weeks at Hot Dog High with Madison, Wisconsin, PD who taught us how to drive the 27-foot long hotdog. One of the ways they try to recreate cityscapes is by having us drive through the middle of University of Wisconsin Madison Campus where there are plenty of students. This trains you to watch for people crossing, the bike lane and so many other things. It’s not identical to New York, but it’s nice that they tried to set us up for it.
Read about the weirdest thing Medvick learned at Hot Dog High and more at UConn Magazine.