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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 30, 1997)
HOT DOG from page 1
students only drove trains.
Wienie Winger war
More than 30 groups of four or
five students have until early
December to come up with the perfect
idea to stretch die launching distance
of Der Schlinger from only 50 yards
to at least 65 yards.
Fairbury marketing director Marc
Rude said he was excited for the pro
ject to get started because in the world
of hot dog projecting, Der Schlinger
just ain’t gettin’ it done.
“Obviously we’re not getting to
all the fans,” he said of the gun’s lim
ited firing power. “If I get a really
good shot, I get to maybe row 30.”
(And in case you were wondering,
Der Schlinger schlings the 2.29
ounce hot dogs about 70 mph.
Not fast enough to maim, Rude
said, “but it wouldn’t feel good.”)
Rude and his launcher hurl hot
dogs at Memorial Stadium, the NU
Coliseum, Buck Beltzer Field and the
Lincoln Star’s Ice Box.
For those venues, the launcher is
ideal, he said.
“We can reach everyone at the Ice
Box and coliseum,” he said. “In fact,
we have to tone it down there or we’d
just bounce them off the walls and
ceilings. Which, I guess, can be fun.”
But he said it would be more fun
to have the hot dog launcher shoot
franks to the far reaches of the foot
That’s where the students and the
friendly academic competition come in.
Each group of students competes
against each other to devise a plan for
such an apparatus.
The best four plans, two from the
civil class and two from the mechani
cal class, actually will be constructed.
Associate Dean John Ballard said
the department has agreed to fund the
prototypes of the top four designs up
to $ 1,000 and possibly a little more.
“I don’t like to write blank
checks,” he said. “But this is a great
learning tool for the students.”
And after the classes’ final flung
frank has fallen, Fairbury has said it
would reimburse the department if a
suitable superior schlinger was devel
The new wiener winger can con
sist of improvements on the existing
design or a completely new concept,
said mechanical engineering
Associate Professor Kevin Cole.
“He doesn’t care how it works,”
he said of Rude’s motives. “He just
wants to promote hot dogs.”
Rude agreed and said the educa
tional aspect was great, but the most
important thing for him “is that the
hot dogs go farther.”
“We want to be able to reach all
The project will count for about
40 percent of the students’ finahgrade
Sicking and Rohde said, and wilt be
based on criteria such as sketches of
the launcher, estimated costs of mate
rials on one year of operation, firing
distance, weight of the device and the
expected durability of the design.
The mechanical engineering stu
dents must also complete a research
paper on the project.
“It’s turned into a hot dog-shooter
class more than anything,” said Bryan
Troester, a sophomore civil engineer
ing major. “But it’s more fun than
going to class and listening to them
Sicking said the project isn’t as
weird as it sounds.
“From an engineering prospec
tive, this is just another design prob
lem,” he said. “To the layman, it
would appear a very unusual project.”
And Cole said the gun’s use of
carbon dioxide, or what engineers
like to call a “pneumatic system,” was
“You learned everything you need
to know in a high school physics
class,” he said.
Yeah, right, said freshman civil
engineer major Julie Williams,
describing the project’s level of diffi
“It’s hard because we have no
background, no experience and no
knowledge of what we have to do.”
“Right now we’re trying to get
through some of the basic things they
need to know.”
Sicking said the idea of teaching
students how to build a hot dog
launcher wasn’t a piece of cake for
“Our challenge as professors is to
relate the hot dog launcher to other
types of engineering designs,” he said.
And if the professors had their
way, every group would come up with
a brand new system.
“The general nature of younger
designers is to try to improve existing
designs,” Sicking said. “But we’d like
them to think outside the box and
change the launch technique entirely.”
Though designing a hot dog
shaped shooter probably isn’t a
career, Hotchkiss said the concept is
actually what these students will be
doing after graduation.
“This is an example of a real-world
project that has to be done in a finite
amount of time with a finite amount of
money,” he said. “This is what real
world engineering is all about.”
Freshman civil engineering major
Jeremy Bishoff also sees the academic
aspect to operation hot dog launcher.
“It’s one of those things that keeps
your attention,” he said. “I think it’s
good that we’re out there doing the
stuff that engineers are doing instead
of just hearing about it.”
Birth of a Schlinger
The idea for a hot dog launcher
didn’t originate in Fairbury, Rude said.
He got the idea after watching a
‘Monday Night Football” game last
year between the Philadelphia Eagles
and the Dallas Cowboys, in which a
hot dog launcher was used by a
“I called the Eagles on Tuesday
morning and found out where they
got their launcher from,” Rude said.
It came from a small packing
plant in Pennsylvania that had devel
oped the idea, then sold the rights to a
larger manufacturing company.
Rude made another call to that
company, and he was soon admiring
his brand spankin’ new hot dog
He put its cost in the $2,000 to
The schlinger made its first
appearance at this season’s opening
Husker football game, Rude said, and
has become quite the attraction.
“People loved it right from the
beginning,” he said.
But only about 100 in the crowd
each game really love it, he said,
because they’re the only ones getting
free hot dogs.
“We want to involve more peo
ple,” he said. “We really want to be
able to shoot them farther.”
Rude is just glad calculating a way
how to isn’t part of his job descrip
“I’m a hot dog salesman,” he said
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