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'HOTDOGGERS' RELISH JOB OF DRIVING WIENERMOBILE

Frankly speaking, a 23-foot-long motorized hot dog creates a lot of attention when it's driven around the streets of Buffalo.

The Wienermobile's two drivers, Paul Devery and Crista Wilson, both recent college graduates, also hear a lot of puns from passers-by when they stop the vehicle. Questions like: "Can you ketchup with traffic with that thing?"

And forced attempts at humor like: "I never sausage a thing," or "It's the first time I ever saw a grill on a hot dog," or "I relish that vehicle."

Devery, who graduated in May from the University of Delaware, and Ms. Wilson, a 1989 grad of Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, drove the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile to Buffalo Tuesday for a public relations stop at Children's Hospital -- where they handed out red plastic whistles in the shape of their vehicle and stickers, post cards and hand puppets.

"You make a lot of people happy on this job," said Devery. He and Ms. Wilson are both 24-year-old communications majors. They are among 13 successful applicants selected from among 500 young people for their outgoing personalities and communications skills.

Devery literally chased after a Wienermobile to get the job. As a college senior, he was driving down a highway in his native state of New Jersey when he saw one of the vehicles. He turned the car around and caught up with the vehicle to ask how he could get a job driving it. Shortly afterward, he put in an application.

Those hired -- the company calls them "Hotdoggers" -- spend a year traveling in one of the seven Wienermobiles greeting and meeting people in various parts of the country.

Devery, whose home is in Mount Laurel, N.J., and Ms. Wilson, who hails from Beloit, Ohio, are assigned to the Northeast, piling up 50,000 miles a year as they crisscross the region, stopping at supermarkets, hospitals, movie theaters, participating in parades and bringing the company name to fairs and football games.

The vehicles are converted 1988 Chevrolet vans with fiberglass bodies made to look like a giant hot dog on a wide bun.

The hardest part of driving the Wienermobile? "You have to watch your buns," said Wilson.

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