By Shereen Siewert
MILWAUKEE — After 25 years, the Famous Racing Sausages will no longer represent Klement when they take the field during Milwaukee Brewer games, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report.
The team has signed a new deal with Johnsonville, according to a company spokeswoman.
Klement has sponsored The Famous Racing Sausages since their creation and has been the official sausage and hot dog provider of the Brewers for decades. According to a letter sent by new Klement CEO and president Thomas Danneker to employees Tuesday, the Brewers have discontinued their relationship, meaning the sausage race tradition will continue on with a new company’s name.
“This spring we entered into our regular contract negotiations with the Brewers, just as we have done many times over the past 25+ years,” Danneker wrote. “We intended to extend and continue our partnership with the Brewers — and more importantly the Brewers family of fans.
“Unfortunately, the Brewers abruptly and without explanation cut off our negotiations. To our surprise, weeks later the Brewers informed us that they signed with another undisclosed company, and we would not have the opportunity to match the deal or negotiate.”
In a radio interview Tuesday with Newsradio 620 WTMJ, Danneker said the company had been negotiating with the Brewers since last spring, but the Brewers came into Klement’s offices last week to let them know that they had signed with another company.
“We were shocked,” Danneker said in the interview. “Our company has been so all-in with the Brewers. It caught us by surprise.”
The race started in the early 1990s with just three sausages – the bratwurst, the Polish sausage (kielbasa), and the Italian sausage. Since then, two new sausages have joined the race – the hot dog, introduced in the mid-1990s, and the chorizo, which was unveiled and eventually joined the race in the mid-2000s.
Employees of the Milwaukee Brewers or Miller Park usually run the race. Donning over-sized foam sausage costumes that measure seven feet, three inches from the top of the head to the knees of the runners, the contestants start their race between the dugout and the baseline around third base. They sprint down the warning track, around home plate and continue toward first base. On Sunday afternoon home games, the Sausages tag off to miniature versions of themselves, dubbed the Little Weenies, who finish the remainder of the race.
The sausages appear at many local charity events, including an annual 5K run/walk in their honor, with proceeds going to Brewers Community Foundation, and are available for personal appearances on non-game days. They also have a twice yearly home-and-home relay race against their Pittsburgh Pirates counterparts, the Racing Pierogies.