News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News


October 21, 2011

VIDEO: Hotdoggers spread miles of smiles driving Wienermobile

Iconic vehicle makes stop in Terre Haute

TERRE HAUTE — “This is awesome,” Lawrence Paige said laughing Thursday morning just after the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile pulled up in front of Kroger on Wabash Avenue.

“This is gonna be my new Facebook status,” he said as he took a photo of the rolling hot dog on a bun.

The iconic Wienermobile made two stops in Terre Haute during a journey across America to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Wienermobile -- much to the delight of many who showed up to have their photos taken and to collect a Wiener Whistle.

“When we heard it was going to be her, I brought the kids out specifically to see it,” enthused Chrissy Revell, as she and husband Scott gathered with their children, Jonathan, 9, David, 7, and four-year-old Lizzy “I was her age when I first saw it,” Chrissy said of her daughter.

Based in Madison, Wis., the Oscar Mayer company sends out six Wienermobiles each year to cover different regions of the country. Terre Haute won an Oscar Mayer Facebook contest to be one of the 75 cities being visited on the Wienermobile 75th anniversary tour.  The crew also visited Kroger on Fort Harrison Road later in the afternoon.

Hotdoggers Dylan “Dyl-icious” Hackbarth and “Ketchup” Kyle Hodges drive the RV-sized vehicle in a region from Maine to Virginia and as far east as Indiana.

“It’s probably the greatest job I’ll ever have,” Hodges said. “It’s about spreading miles of smiles.”

The current model of Wienermobiles have been traveling since 2009, but there have been several models since the first rolling hotdog hit the road in 1936.

“We travel anywhere from 300 to 1,000 miles a week,” Hodges said. “We stay in our region, but the region is very big.”

Public reaction to Wienermobile sightings is almost always positive, she said. “Most of the time, it’s just a lot of smiling and honking and waving. My most memorable was a grown woman who was hysterically laughing. She couldn’t speak, she just kept laughing.”

Driving through neighborhoods is also a blast, she said, especially when someone doing yard work takes pause to stare open-mouthed as the Wienermobile rolls past.

“There’s nothing about the Wienermobile that makes you sad,” she said.

Rena Burk of Terre Haute agreed. She and her husband Kenny and 4-year-old son Nicklaus made a special trip to the Kroger on Wabash to see the legendary vehicle.

“It’s just a part of history,” Burk said. “People our age usually don’t get to see this. It just brings the kid back. And, I got a whistle!”

Burk said she has seen Food Network television programs about the Wienermobile, and was thrilled she got the chance to see it up close.

Jonathon Alltop of Bowling Green was on his way to work at Union Hospital when he stopped by to “meat” the Oscar Mayer crew.

And Cheryl White brought a special friend along -- Flat Stanley.

“My niece in Georgia sent him to me,” White said of the paper boy cut-out, who is a popular phenomenon in his own right as people photograph him in various places before returning him on his journey. “If you’re gonna take someone around Terre Haute and show them the interesting things in Terre Haute,” White said, “you gotta show them the Wienermobile.”

Some of the males stopping by to check out the rolling hotdog were interested in the vehicle’s statistics, such as miles per gallon and top speed.

“It gets about the same mileage as a large SUV,” Hodges said. “It can ‘haul buns’, but we always like to go the speed limit.”

Many of the visitors chose to have their photos taken with the Wienermobile. With the side door open, visitors could step inside for a quick peek at the plush yellow and red interior, and the mustard stripe painted on the floor.

“This is the ketchup walkway,” Hackbarth said of the red floor. “We tell kids we spilled mustard on it, but they won’t believe us.”

Passengers in the Wienermobile must wear a “meatbelt” rather than a seatbelt for safety. The front seat passenger is riding “shot bun” and the big hot dogs in the front windshield are “dash hounds.”

“On the ceiling we have blue skies painted,” Hackbarth said, “because even when its cloudy and rainy like it is outside today, inside the Wienermobile it’s a beautiful day.”

There is even a “bun roof” that can be removed during parades so that the wiener crew can wave to crowds. And in the heat of the summer, Dylan and Kylie cranked up the air conditioning to become “chilly dogs” on the long drives.

They stay busy giving out Wiener whistles, making scheduled stops at retail businesses and for community events. Since they hit the road in June, they have given rides to the families of ill children staying at Ronald McDonald Houses, and have participated in “wiener-robics” for senior citizens needing exercise.

Last week in Indianapolis, they drove around the Butler University campus with school mascot Blue the Bulldog barking at students.

“It’s really great to go places where people really embrace us,” Hodges said. “We’ve been to other Facebook contest towns, but we haven’t gotten the reception like we did today.”

The duo have been hotdoggers since graduating from Hot Dog High, after they both graduated from college and committed a year to being ambassadors for the Oscar Mayer company. The interior of the Wienermobile is spacious, with plenty of storage space for up to 11,000 Wiener Whistles.

“A lot of people think we’re married, and that we live in this thing, and that we’re volunteers,” Hodges said laughing about the questions she and Hackbarth get from the curious.

“It’s pretty surreal,” Hackbarth said. “I was telling Kylie this morning, ‘Oh no! I’m having dreams about the Wienermobile.’ We live, eat and sleep with it.”

As two of just 12 hotdoggers, Hackbarth and Hodges were selected from among more than 1,500 applicants for the one-year position as Oscar Mayer ambassadors.

“We were lucky to cut the mustard,” Hackbarth punned.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Exterior View - Normal Hall.jpg MARK BENNETT: Returning the dome to Normal

    Folks at Indiana State University haven’t summoned Indiana Jones, yet.

    June 5, 2014 10 Photos 1 Story 1 Video

  • MET 052014 ASSAULT 05CROSB.jpg VIDEO: Out of the Shadows: ‘Finally, I am living again’

    Malea Crosby has a one-word tattoo that tells her story: Survivor.
    It’s a constant reminder to her, every day of her life, that while she once was a victim of childhood sexual abuse and rape, “It didn’t kill me. I’m still alive.”

    June 4, 2014 3 Photos 2 Stories 1 Video

  • MET 050814 ASSAULT 02HALE.jpg VIDEO: Revealing new studies, persistent advocates bring issue of sexual assault, rape out of the shadows

    Growing up in northern Indiana, Christina Hale and her friends felt safe and secure in their neighborhoods.
    “It was an era you played outside all day, and everyone’s parents looked out for you.

    June 4, 2014 2 Photos 2 Stories 1 Video

  • SPT060314 rex smithson.jpg VIDEO: Terre Haute Rex claim home opener 5-1

    A memorable spring of college baseball ended last weekend for Terre Haute fans, but those at Bob Warn Field on Tuesday night heaped cheers upon hometown hero A.J. Reed. Sycamores Derek Hannahs, Tyler Wampler and Jacob Hayes also were recognized during the Terre Haute Rex home opener.  
    As has become custom when the calendar flips to June, fans cheered on the Rex to a 5-1 victory in front of 1,166 fans for the first home win under the new ownership.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • (weir) 52car 002.jpg VIDEO: If These Cars Could Talk: Readers take nostalgic look back at their ‘first loves’

    Brilliant sunshine beams down on Danny Weir and his “first love” in that photograph from the summer of ’63.
    He’s 18, looking country cool in rolled up sleeves, jeans, loafers and a straw hat with the southern Indiana countryside stretched out in the background. Weir’s companion in the picture gleams, sublime.

    May 11, 2014 8 Photos 1 Video

  • MET 042214 SWIM FACES.jpg VIDEO: Swim by 7 program

    Swim by 7 is a collaborative effort involving the United Way of the Wabash Valley and the Vigo County School Corp. As envisioned, all VCSC kindergarten students would participate in the learn-to-swim program once the new VCSC Aquatics Facility is constructed and ready for use at Voorhees Park.

    April 23, 2014 6 Photos 1 Video

  • MET 042114 NEW ISU TRACK.jpg VIDEO: Indiana State breaks ground for $4.3M riverside track and field facility

    Indiana State University officials, community leaders and donors broke ground Monday on a new, $4.3 million track and field facility on the Wabash riverfront, along North First Street.

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos 1 Video

  • MET 041814 HUXFORD PAT.jpg VIDEO: Overcoming symptoms

    Even when he was in grade school, it was obvious Justin Huxford was a special kid.
    He was the first at Rio Grande Elementary School to walk 100 miles around the school grounds over the school year, one of just a handful of kids to meet the goal.

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos 1 Video

  • bb8991b19af8b067e44478c_.jpg VIDEO: Windom seeking strong start to USAC Silver Crown Series at Action Track

    Chris Windom has big plans.
    Sure, the 23-year-old would like to make the ascent from success in the U.S. Auto Club to the fame and fortune of the larger racing series of NASCAR.
    The Canton, Ohio, native who makes his home in West Lafayette has his sights on a big USAC season in 2014. Windom was second in Silver Crown points in 2013 and ninth in the sprint series.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • Terre Haute women of power.jpg VIDEO: Dues Paid, change under way

    25 years later, ‘influentials’ assess long road of progress for women.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story 1 Video

  • MET031914 health cook ernst.jpg VIDEO: Community Health Fair

    Nursing students in Indiana State University’s senior community health class hosted a community health fair Wednesday in Ryves Youth Center at Etling Hall, 1356 Locust St.
    Mayor Duke Bennett helped kick off the afternoon of free activities as part of his “52 Weeks of Fitness” initiative.

    March 19, 2014 3 Photos 1 Video

  • IMG_3401.jpg VIDEOS: Keeping memory of fallen Aces alive

    Memorial Wall in Evansville's Ford Center pays tribute to Terre Haute native Mike Joyner and  University of Evansville's Purple Aces basketball team killed in a plane crash on Dec. 13, 1977.

    March 16, 2014 6 Photos 1 Story 2 Videos

  • MET031414seuss west.jpg VIDEO: Seuss is Loose

    Ouabache Elementary School Music teacher Alison West, playing the part of Dr. Seuss' Thing 1, tosses confetti during the "Seuss is Loose" parade celebrating the end of ISTEP+ testing.

    March 14, 2014 4 Photos 1 Video

  • isu3.jpg VIDEO: Mahan's 17 rebounds among five best totals in league tournament history

    The toughness — both mental and physical — of Marina Laramie and Racheal Mahan — is a big reason the Indiana State women’s basketball team won five games in a row to close the regular season.
    The resolve of the Sycamore post duo was put to the test Friday in the MVC Tournament quarterfinals, and Laramie and Mahan were up to the task.

    March 14, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

  • TS video street musician_posterframe VIDEO: Sax at the Crossroads

    Saxophonist Michael Reed spiced up the Crossroads of America under long-awaited sunny skies around noon Tuesday, March 11, in downtown Terre Haute.

    March 11, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • newpersp3:9 copy.jpg VIDEO: Reaching the Wabash

    Fairness holds no power over the Wabash River.
    The waterway floods where and when it pleases. Its speed and volume take no account of humans using it for recreation.

    March 9, 2014 3 Photos 1 Video

  • MET030714komen kalb.jpg VIDEO: Tasting their way to a cure

    People appeared to be in high spirits Friday inside the historic Indiana Theatre as they gathered for an evening of wine, food and conversation while supporting efforts to find a cure for breast cancer.

    March 7, 2014 3 Photos 1 Video

  • MET030514robotics robots.jpg VIDEO: Watch these robots play ball

    Drivers of remote-controlled robots will match skills, similar to those used in basketball and soccer, to score in the FIRST Robotics’ Crossroads Regional on the campus of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • SPT120412ISUWBBmunn1.jpg VIDEO: Munn has made her mark on ISU women's program

    Anna Munn has been a dependable leader in the Indiana State women’s basketball program. Her leadership has helped coach Teri Moren build to back-to-back 10-or-more win seasons in the Missouri Valley the last two years.

    March 2, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • MET030114swope shaffer.jpg VIDEO: Mardi Gras at the Swope

    Teresa Shaffer was handing out beads and masks at the Swope Art Museum's Mardi Gras celebration Saturday night. The event is an annual fundraiser for the downtown museum.

    March 1, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

  • MET022814winterguard 2.jpg VIDEO: WInterguard

    West Vigo High School's team competed in the Northview Winter Guard Invitational Friday, Feb. 28. Some 80 teams will perform their routines between Friday evening and all day today.

    February 28, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

  • SPT 021614 ABDUL-QAADIR.jpg VIDEO: Indiana State women looking to add to winning streak at home

    Indiana State looks to put a three-game winning streak together tonight against Loyola, who topped the Sycamores behind 30 points by senior forward Troy Hambric for one of the Ramblers’ nine wins this season.
    The Sycamores’ women’s basketball team stifled Missouri State last Friday and knocked off first-place Wichita State on Sunday for a pair of road wins last weekend. They'll look to build upon that momentum tonight at home.

    February 28, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • Wilhelm_posterframe VIDEO: Wilhelm leads South swimmers into state finals

    Christian Wilhelm plans to compete in the distance freestyle when he gets to the University of Illinois-Chicago’s downtown campus.
    Wilhelm emerged as a state qualifier in the 500-yard freestyle and 200 freestyle as a junior for Terre Haute South. But his senior season took a different turn and he’s hoping to make a big splash in a new event.

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo 1 Video

  • MET022614beauty trusty.jpg VIDEO: Inner beauty

    Cheers and applause filled the room as 13 smiling women took center stage Wednesday night in Terre Haute to shine a spotlight on the unique beauty each person possesses — inside and out.

    February 27, 2014 4 Photos 1 Video

  • MET022514icerescue sign.jpg VIDEO: First responders train for ice rescues

    The phrase “skating on thin ice” refers to a risky situation, and with good reason. Falling through the thin ice of a frozen lake or pond can be the last thing a person does if a rescue is not quickly made.

    February 26, 2014 3 Photos 1 Video

  • Terry Eldredge with The Grascals 2-21-14 VIDEO: The Grascals have Wabash Valley’s toes tappin’

    Bluegrass fans came from all four corners of the Wabash Valley to see Nashville, Tenn.-based band The Grascals  — and its Vigo County-native member — in concert Friday night in Union Christian Church.
    Jo-Ann Jones of Clinton was “pew dancing” in front of the sold-out crowd.

    February 22, 2014 10 Photos 1 Video

  • MET022014drone church.jpg VIDEO: Eyes in the sky

    Downtown Terre Haute gets demonstration of Pocket Drone and GPS navigation software.

    February 21, 2014 4 Photos 1 Video

  • MET 021814 BEDWELL ROTARY.jpg Video: Navy veteran recounts tale of kayak trip

    Sharing his story is exciting for a Dugger man who made history by becoming the first blind solo kayaker to travel the entire length of the Grand Canyon.

    February 18, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

  • MET021714spprak note.jpg Video: SPPRAK-ers spread message

    Six-year-old Sunny Santharam knows what kindness is.
    When his father Ram asked him the definition, Sunny quickly responded, “Be nice to everyone!”

    February 18, 2014 5 Photos 1 Video

  • MET021714sethboland.jpg Video: Full-time Eagle Scout

    Seth Boland poses with his Eagle Scout award at the stage extension he built in Ryves Youth Center at Etling Hall. Boland had the help of family, friends and fellow scouts, taking parts of three weekends to build the structure.

    February 17, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
NDN Video
Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010