A Year on the Hotdog Highways
I’m writing this on a Saturday afternoon from my hotel room in St. Louis. The Wienermobile is glistening while the sun sets behind it, like only a 27-foot-long hot dog can. Either that or the bright red and yellow paint is just getting to me. Behind it there’s one of Mizzou’s “Make It Right” billboards for all of the Interstate to see, and then I start to cry.
At the moment, I’m not sure if they’re happy or sad tears. Maybe a mix of both. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about Mizzou the people I met there.
My post grad experience wasn’t typical. I drove that aforementioned Wienermobile for an entire year, and doing so I’ve met Mizzou grads, Mizzou Dads and Mizzou Moms, and countless people who love Mizzou in the almost 30 states I saw. Every time I told someone I went to Mizzou, they had a story to tell me and my Mizzou grad partner, Connor.
Forgive me if this is dramatic, but the Wienermobile and Mizzou actually go hand in hand. More Missouri Tigers have been Hotdoggers than anyone else, and for over 30 years, Mizzou has represented Oscar Mayer across the United States and the world. It’s a love story, if you will.
After spending the year on the east coast and in the midwest, these are a few things I saw or heard on the road that made the Wienermobile worth it and made me proud to be a Mizzou alum. Everyone thinks their school is different. However, It’s deeper than an “MIZ” yell, but it starts there.
The amount of people who can yell “MIZ” at you is limitless, but it’s cooler when the chant is exchanged and a conversation takes place. My first week on the road, I met a pack of Mizzou grads in Washington, D.C., who told me a guy in their friend group from college drove the Wienermobile, and it was an instant connection.
You see, no one had to ask where my coworker Connor or I went to school. From our stocking hats to our socks, people could tell we went to Mizzou.
After we’d pitch media interviews for the week, we’d roll up to a station or meet a reporter and they’d say, “So you went to Mizzou? I did too.” Whether it was the Food Network or a local outlet, that Mizzou Mafia runs deep.
Countless parents would learn where we went to school and immediately follow it up with, “My daughter wants to go there.” Or they’d tell us about someone they know there. I once had a guy look me dead in the eye and ask if only Mizzou grads drove the Wienermobile because he heard that once. Even an assistant coach from the Columbus Blue Jackets (is this two words? idk) hockey team yelled “MIZ” at my coworkers and I when he saw one of us in a Mizzou shirt. And there’s really no one more proud of her little Tiger than a Mizzou Mom.
Being an ambassador for Mizzou came naturally with my job, and it’s something I can never replicate. I drove the Wienermobile in the Homecoming parade, Tiger Tail and all. I was also more extreme like when I watched the women’s basketball team win a game in the NCAA tourney and ran out and got Fight Tiger tattooed to me in Dayton, Ohio, (this is so true and my mother really is proud.)
I never realized how much I loved Mizzou until I left it, which is saying something because I was voted “Most Likely to Be Buried on Traditions Plaza” by my sorority. But no matter where you end up, you represent the University of Missouri for the rest of your life. Black and gold don’t have to be your wedding colors (they might be mine, who knows), but Mizzou is a part of you that will never leave. I can’t drive the Wienermobile forever, but I’ll always have Mizzou.
- Cady Lowery, BJ ’18