by Tony Schillaci & Don Church
If you happen to spot a 27-foot-long hot dog on wheels passing you on the highway sometime this year, it’s probably Ledyard’s own Larisa Danielle Beachy on her way to work. Until January, Larisa (also known as Lunch-Lovin’Larisa) will be in the western states, but after that she may possibly show up on the east coast with her distinctive Weinermobile with the license plate “WEENR.”
2004 alumni of Ledyard High School and a Penn State graduate, Larisa is one of only 14 hotdoggers who were chosen from 1,400 applicants by Kraft Foods and Oscar Mayer to tour the country in their Weinermobiles. So far, Larisa drove through 15 states, and as she puts it, “I’ve seen America at its finest” since graduating from “Hot Dog High” in Madison, WI (Oscar Meyer headquarters) on June 15th.
The Resident tried to “ketchup” with Larisa to ask her a few questions about her decision to become a hotdogger. (When we interviewed her, she was in Sacramento, CA.) She told us that at Ledyard High she was class president, captain in volleyball, basketball and lacrosse and the first ever female commentator at the Thanksgiving football game!
When Lunch Lovin’ Larisa told her mom -who works at Ledyard Middle School- that she wanted to be a hotdogger, “she, at first, responded with, ‘Larisa, I did not spend four years of tuition at Penn State for you to drive around in a hot dog!” But now her proud family “relishes” the idea.
Larisa and her Weinermobile partner “H’am-anda Cheese” don’t serve hot dogs when they arrive at a destination. But they do hand out coupons, weinerwhistles, and have hot dog cut outs for the whole family… so that they can take digital camera pictures. And, they “collect money for each community’s local food bank in an effort to match the contribution Oscar Mayer made at the beginning of the summer $100,000 to the nation’s food bank,” according to Larisa.
So, what’s next for Larisa? After her hotdogging stint, she plans to go into sports marketing or sports broadcasting… after all, “hot dogs are always at sporting events so I figure I have a shot!” And she tells us that “this job has opened up so many doors already. The networking on the road is amazing. I’ve met a V.P. at Nike and have even had people ask for my card so they could contact me in June 2009 when my hotdogging will be over.” We’re sure that Larisa will be able to cut the mustard!
Until then, The Resident staff will be eagerly watching the parking lot in the hopes that WEENR comes roaring into view, with Lunch Lovin’ Larisa at the wheel!