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Area native Sammi Manning brings the Oscar Mayer "Wienermobile" to Lansing for brief visit

by Julie Berg-Raymond

The Oscar Mayer “Wienermobile” made an unofficial stop in Lansing last week, driven by 2013 Waukon High School graduate Sammi Manning.

Manning is a brand ambassador for Oscar Mayer (a Kraft Heinz company). She and her co-driver, Haley Rohe of Green Bay, WI, pulled up in front of nutMeg’s Bakery & Cafe on Lansing's Main Street Monday, July 17 to a crowd of several dozen people.
“I’m shocked,” Manning said while handing out Wienermobile stickers to the crowd. “I didn’t expect this big of a turnout, but it’s awesome.”

NutMeg’s is owned by Manning’s aunt and cousin, Patty and Megan Manning of Lansing. Sammi Manning said she wanted to stop there so she could show off the Wienermobile to her friends and family in Lansing.

“I'm so happy we had a great turnout, especially since this was an unofficial event today, being that it’s Haley and my day off en route to Indianapolis. I’m glad I got to share the love of hot dogs with my hometown,” she said.

Manning said bout 1,500 people apply for the job of Oscar Mayer brand ambassador each year, and only 12 are selected. Also called “Hotdoggers,” the ambassadors work full-time for one year, traveling via Wienermobile to a different city each week and conducting promotional events for the company.

“The mission of our job is to spread the word about Oscar Mayer’s new and better hot dogs that now have no artificial preservatives, no added nitrates or nitrites, and no by-products. So it’s a really exciting time to be a ‘Hotdogger,’” Manning said.

There are six regional teams in six Wienermobile vehicles, covering the entire country; Manning and Rohe are the Midwest team. Although they’re based in Madison, WI, they stay most nights in hotels. After six months they are assigned a new region; by the end of their year with the company, they will each have traveled through 20-30 states.

“For Haley and me, both, this was our dream job coming out of college,” Manning said. “There’s no better way to get work experience and see the country than from a 27-foot hot dog on wheels. We absolutely love our job and ‘relish’ every minute of it.”

Manning is a 2016 graduate of the University of Northwestern–St Paul, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations. She is the daughter of Ellen Manning of Waukon and Dennis Manning of Lansing.

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