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    Sunday, April 14, 2024

    Wienermobile visits New London on 21-state tour

    Hotdoggers Mary Clare Kammer, left, and Chloe Van Caeseele, center, pose for a photo with the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, for people at ShopRite in New London. Kammer’s Hotdogger name is Chili Cheese MC and Van Caeseele’s Hotdogger name is Chlo-Wienie. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Hotdogger Mary Clare Kammer, of Groton, laughs while Robert Rygiel, 3, of Groton, blows an Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile whistle while his father, Robert, looks on after going inside the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at ShopRite in New London. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    Hotdogger Mary Clare Kammer greets Robert Rygiel, 3, of Groton, and his parents, Kirsten and Robert, as they stop to see the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at ShopRite in New London. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    New London ― Standing proudly beside the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile on Tuesday afternoon, Mary Clare Kammer said becoming a “hotdogger” was the best decision she ever made.

    She and fellow “dogger” Chloe Van Caeseele, nicknamed Chlo-Wienie, have driven the vehicle ― which seats eight ― through 21 states since beginning their road trip last June. On Tuesday, they made their latest stop in the ShopRite parking lot at the New London Mall.

    “We just got in from Philadelphia,” Van Caeseele of Hornell, N.Y., said, adding that the two had originally embarked from Madison, Wis., last summer after two weeks of learning to drive the truck at “Hot Dog High.”

    “You go get to see a lot of the country, even though you’re assigned to one region,” added Kammer.

    The 23-year-old St. Louis native said she got the job when Oscar Mayer representatives came to recruit at the University of Missouri, where she was a student.

    “That’s how I became a hotdogger,” she said, adding she “fell in love with the Wienermobile from a young age.” She’s since adopted the nickname “Chili Cheese MC.”

    Shoppers stopped and marveled at the Wienermobile.

    Elaine Miner, of Stonington, was on a normal grocery run when she spotted the truck, said she wants to become a hotdogger when she retires.

    “They said I could go,” she said. “Roadtrip!”

    “We just pulled in and saw it and we had to stop,” her daughter Lydia said. “It’s the best day ever.”

    The two, and others, went home with a “wienie whistle” and a coupon for Oscar Mayer products.

    Meanwhile, the hotdoggers will continue their yearlong adventure at Norwich ShopRite from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, and march in the the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday.

    “We’re ready to go, we’re so excited,” Kammer said, adding it will be their first time in a parade.

    d.drainville@theday.com

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