Thong-clad hot dog girls once ruled Florida streets, Where did they’re going?

Thong-clad hot dog girls once ruled Florida streets, Where did they’re going?

PINELLAS PARK — It’s a summer that is late in Valerie Workman’s Pinellas Park family room. TMZ flickers on mute as her five dogs howl. Sitting crisscross on her behalf settee, she unzips a duffel bag full of 30-year-old stripper thongs.

It’s been years since Valerie, now 55, has seen several of those things. Because of enough time she extends to the bottom of the case, her sofa is covered in ancient panties that are bedazzled. But she’sn’t unearthed exactly exactly what she ended up being really trying to find. There are many relics from her evenings as a dancer, but absolutely nothing from her stint as a dog girl that is hot.

into the early 1990s, roadways in St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park and Largo had been peppered with hot dog carts staffed by ladies in T-backs — thong bikinis. Valerie, whom left dancing to peddle Italian sausages and carbonated drinks, claims she had been the initial.

It’s been decades since she stuffed up her cart and went back into dance, but Valerie nevertheless wonders: exactly just just What occurred to your dog that is hot?

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Not so long ago, the hot dog girls ruled the roads. Baking within the hot Florida sunlight, they made bank selling sausages regarding the part of busy commercial roadways.

The phenomenon that is controversial just a couple of years in Tampa Bay, however it had been filled with action.

Some state the T-backs had been so distracting which they caused vehicle crashes across Pinellas. Turf wars erupted. Police arrested girls for tossing fists and spraying mace. Later on, Valerie would view being a radio that is local hosted a mud wrestling battle over a contested bit of territory.

In 1990, a period once the tackiness that is big-haired of ’80s nevertheless lingered, Valerie first arranged her hot dog cart regarding the region of the road.

In those days, Valerie was a solitary mother increasing three young children. She had been proud to possess determined simple tips to make use of her strong body, carved from years as being a third-degree black colored belt, to aid her family. She had worked as an exotic dancer at Pinellas groups from the time she won an amateur party competition at Jerry’s Rockin’ Disco, and might make very nearly $1,000 per night dance at pubs such as the workplace Lounge, Show Girls and Fountain Blue.

The groups were enjoyable, but she desired to be her very own employer while having her very own area. When her sister’s boyfriend floated the concept to offer hot dogs on along side it for the road, she shopped for carts.


“i possibly could went on state welfare, but we made a decision to work,” she said.

Valerie stocked through to Sabrett all-beef hot dogs, napkins, potato chips and condiments at Sam’s Club. She got a permit and boiled her dogs appropriate within the cart, underneath a Sabrett-branded yellowish and blue umbrella.

Her buddies through the groups quickly implemented. They put up on Milwaukee WI sugar baby roadways with good traffic. Some spots, like 49th Street, weren’t yet developed.

“When we pulled up, we had to make sure there weren’t any gators,” she said.

Hungry drivers on the lunch time break and wondering passersby stopped to see just what she had been doing. Automobiles slowed down to honk. She made a lot of cash from tourists capturing alone.

“People from all over came to Florida merely to look at hot dog girls,” Valerie stated.

Valerie thinks she ended up being the initial hot dog girl, but that is difficult to show. The event is well-documented in magazines through the right time, which reveal this isn’t a trend certain to your Tampa Bay area. By way of example, the Miami days began running classified adverts for bikini-clad hot dog hawkers when you look at the mid 1980s.

In Fort Myers, Sarah Linski told the News-Press that she could make almost $700 in only 16 hours each week at a cart her boyfriend purchased on her. She made on average $125 on busy times by having a bikini that is regular covered her bottom, and about $200 on a daily basis whenever she went along to operate in a thong.

Vendors sporting T-Backs had been documented on Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, Metro Parkway in Fort Myers and Viscaya Parkway in Cape Coral. The thong-wearing vendors didn’t arrive within the pages of Tampa Bay papers until July 1990.

Whether or perhaps not Valerie was initially, she quickly discovered by by by herself in the center of a trend.

They were the full days of thong bathing suit crackdowns across regional beaches. Florida Gov. Bob Martinez authorized a ban on exposed rears in 140 state areas. Sarasota had currently implemented a town ordinance banning thongs, causing five arrests briefly before that.

Meanwhile the T-backs distribute to Tampa.

One thong-clad hot dog woman create store on Hillsborough Ave. in the city N’ nation, triggering a county-level grievance. Therefore county traffic engineer Gary Tait led a team that is investigative find her.

“The concern may be the merchant might be developing a distraction which might cause car accidents,” Tait penned in a memo.

He found the secret woman offering frankfurters in the parking great deal of a house enhancement shop.

As increasingly more hot dog girls showed up, people alike screamed at them from automobile windows. Some whistled and catcalled, while other people yelled at them to locate some clothes that are real.

“It’s perhaps not the absolute most job that is glamorous the entire world,” merchant Lisa Wallace told a News-Press reporter in 2000. “It’s undoubtedly a task for which you need to have a dense epidermis and a razor-sharp tongue.”