MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Klement’s Famous Racing Sausages have been a Milwaukee Brewers game staple since the early 90’s and on Thursday, June 27th, the sausages celebrated their 20 year anniversary.
The racing sausages originally started out as a a scoreboard animation. Three characters - The Bratwurst, The Polish and The Italian - ran toward Milwaukee County Stadium against a backdrop of the city.
In the fall of 1992, Milwaukee graphic designer Michael Dillon of McDill Design came up with an idea to transform the race from the scoreboard to live action.
“I was sitting with Gabe Paul, who was the Vice President of Operations coincidentally, and I said 'you got to have them run in here.' That’s such a great idea and I just kind of badgered him, and finally I said 'I’ll make them, I’m a graphics designer,' and I thought I can make the sausages, and I thought, and I’ll run in them,” recalls Dillion.
On June 27th, 1993, as the Sausages approached Milwaukee County Stadium on the scoreboard video, the left field doors swung open and, much to the surprise of players and fans, out came the larger-than-life mascots.
The three raced to home plate as The Bratwurst took the first-ever live race victory. Coincidentally, Dillon ran as The Brat in that first race.
Dillion admits it was supposed to be a onetime event, but now the five racing sausages, including Hot Dog and Chorizo, are recognized and loved by thousands.
“I really did it just for the fun of it," said Dillon. "I really didn't have any idea what it would be."
The people of Milwaukee continue to celebrate the tradition 20 years later. On the anniversary of the first live race, hundreds of fans turned out for festivities in honor of the Sausages. The first 250 people in line at NorthPoint custard Thursday morning received free Racing Sausage t-shirts, a sausage breakfast, and a chance to mingle with the Sausages.