Giant hotdog visits Minturn |

Giant hotdog visits Minturn

Christine Ina Casillas
NWS OscarMayer4 10-28-03 CS

When a giant hotdog on wheels traveled through Minturn Tuesday it drew enough attention from residents and guests alike to stop traffic.

The onlookers couldn’t resist the cracks, jokes, the buns and puns.

But early Tuesday morning, “Yummy,” the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, visited a group of preschool children at Poo Corner on Pine Street in Minturn, courtesy of drivers Nicole Martinez and “Corndog” Chris.

“Open wide,” Corndog Chris told the preschoolers. He asked the group of two- to five-year-olds if they could open their mouths wide enough to not only eat a juicy hotdog but the entire wienermobile.

The preschool kids wrinkled their noses, jaws ajar.

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“I like to eat the hotdogs with bread and ketchup,” said Gabe Gomez, one of the preschoolers.

But the parents loved the attention, said Cass Galloway, director of Poo Corner.

“We certainly weren’t expecting this,” said one parent, who asked not to be named. “It’s quite a surprise.”

Wienermobile drivers Martinez and Chris, however, were just passing through town, heading west toward Denver and back to Wisconsin, home of the hotdog and its headquarters.

“It’s great. You’re an instant celebrity,” Martinez said. Martinez is the niece of Minturn’s Police Chief, Lorenzo Martinez.

And the wienermobile certainly kept the police chief busy.

The lights and sirens from the police car awakened some residents on Pine Street, who stepped outside of their homes to witness the engorged vehicle parking in front of their driveways.

“I heard the sirens and thought, “Oh no. They arrested the wieniemobile,'” said Minturn resident Dan Matney.

But the wienermobile was only escorted by the chief, who also directed traffic through the small residential neighborhood.

“It’s not something I see in front of my house every day,” said Minturn resident Darrell Chavez, who stepped outside for a moment to take pictures of the Oscar Mayer hotdog mobile. “I thought it was a fire drill when I heard all the sirens.”

Other residents – young and old – ventured down the street out of mere curiosity.

“We had to check it out,” said one Minturn resident. “That’s one big hotdog.”

The wienermobile is about 60 hotdogs long, Nicole Martinez said. And it drives well for its size, traveling at top speeds all around the Western United States. And, she said, other drivers are cautious and courteous when they see “a big hotdog coming up behind them.”

“Everyone merges over when they see us coming down the road,” she said.

Martinez has been driving the wagon since June, and, she said, it’s a year-long adventure. Martinez recently graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder, but her uncle said she wasn’t ready for “the real world” yet.

When recruiters for the Oscar Mayer company were searching for drivers – or “hotdoggers” – to promote their product, Martinez decided that would be the best thing for her for a while.

The hotdoggers theme is “Life’s a journey. Take the scenic route.”

For more than four months, the duo has spent time up and down the west coast, visiting schools and military bases.

“When you’re dealing with people, you want to make them happy,” Nicole Martinez said. “When you see the wienermobile, how can it not make you happy?”

Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at

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