On the drive from his Plano home to his Purdue University dorm before his sophomore year of college, Sam Dlott spotted an unusual vehicle stopped in Springfield, Illinois — the Weinermobile.
Dlott met the hot dog hardtop’s driver full of questions, and then returned to college. But he couldn’t get the Frankfurter out of his head.
“I fell in love with the mission of the vehicle, which is to spread smiles. That’s how it started in 1936 and that’s what it is to this day, 87 years later,” Dlott says. “From that moment forward, I really saw a shift in what I wanted to do after I graduated. I wanted to work my buns off for three years to be one of the drivers of the vehicles.”
As Dlott finished up college, he kept tabs on Weinermobile drivers and what it took to apply to the program. As he rounded out his senior year and began applying for computer engineering jobs, he also sent his resume, cover letter and application to Oscar Meyer.
One of about 7,000 applicants, Dlott began the interview process and was flown to the Frankmobile team’s headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. With each round, his competition dwindled. 7,000 applied. 27 went to final round interviews. Finally, 12 were chosen, and Dlott was in. From the moment he was selected, Sam Dlott was not longer. Now, for the 12 months he will serve as a driver, he is Hammy Sammy.
“[People] really see my passion for not only the vehicle, but the mission of spreading smiles and making people happy,” Dlott says.
For Dlott, joining the Weinermobile Meat Fleet is an extension of the activities he gravitated toward in high school — activities that centered around people, connections and performing.
Dlott graduated from Plano Senior where he was class president and in the drum line before moving to Indiana to attend Purdue University to study computer engineering.
“I kind of threw those three activities out the window when I went to Purdue,” Dlott says
Now that he is officially Hammy Sammy, Dlott will be traveling the United States in a new city every week, with the first few days devoted to exploring new places and eating at restaurants and the last few to events at shopping centers, grocery stores and other venues.
“One of my favorite parts is hearing the “I remember” stories because the vehicles have been around for so long,” Dlott says. “It’s crazy that a giant hot dog on wheels really connects people and to hear about those connections has been really rewarding so far.”
In Dlott’s seventh week as a driver for the southern region, he and his co-driver parked in Plano while making scheduled stops in McKinney and Dallas.
“[Plano] is still a really big part of who I am. I definitely identify strongly with a Plano identity … It was really fun getting to park the vehicle in front of my house. Coming home was really special,” Dlott says. “It’s such an iconic vehicle.”
After his Oscar Meyer year is over, Dlott will move to Austin, where he will work for Ernst & Young, a consulting, assurance, tax and transaction services company that has allowed Dlott to delay his start date for the year he spends as a Hotdogger.
“They were super understanding and I didn’t want to put all my eggs in the hot dog basket,” Dlott says.
For now, Dlott is relishing the opportunity to travel the country and meet people to put smiles on faces.
“When I tell people I’ve met or people I’ve known my whole life that I wanted to do this, the answer I get most often is ‘You’re the perfect guy to do that.’”
If you want to catch up with Dlott and the Weinermobile, Oscar Meyer’s website tracks each vehicle on its path across the country or you can follow Dlott on his Instagram at @OM_HammySammy.