UPDATE: Karl and Carol have just announced lower prices ($15 or less, postage and insurance not included) on their auction items. Visit www.karlboyd.com and click on Karl's Korner to learn what's still listed.
When Karl and Carol Hoepfner--a retired couple from Rockport, TX and â€śWhataburgerâ€™s Biggest Fansâ€ť--made their stop at the Sweetwater location in November 2011, they were more than halfway done in their pursuit to visit every Whataburger restaurant in the country.
As of August 8, 2012, they made their 729th visit to Whataburger, thus completing their journey.
Whataburger spans over ten states, mainly in the South--as far west as Arizona across to Georgia. The couple began visiting a few Whataburger sites starting in April 2011 to pass the time during Carolâ€™s radiation treatments at MD Anderson in Houston, following her diagnosis with eye cancer.
Once they conquered the feat of visiting the 90-plus Whataburgers in the Houston area, they made the decision to visit all of the restaurants around the country. Their journey has been covered by a number of media outlets--from television appearances, newspaper interviews, online sources and even the London Daily Mail.
The Hoepfners officially became â€śWhataburgerâ€™s Biggest Fansâ€ť after entering and winning an essay contest in November 2010 detailing why they love the restaurant and its food. They received a prize package totaling $8,600 the following April, but decided to pay it forward by only taking 1,000 gift cards at $7 a piece to give to the homeless and needy throughout their trek.
A celebration was held by Whataburger honoring the Hoepfnersâ€™ accomplishments after their final stop, in which the company awarded the couple with a special gift.
â€śWhataburger presented us with a new Chrysler van to replace the one we used to rack up 20,000 miles on our visits,â€ť said Karl through an email statement.
But during their journey at each location, the Hoepfners would be given a number of gifts. While in Sweetwater, they received an older line of promotional t-shirts. All of the donations of Whataburger memorabilia--notably the duplicate gifts received--have been placed into an auction by the couple, in which the funds benefit the Whataburger Family Foundation.
During their Sweetwater visit, the Hoepfners told how the Family Foundation helps their team members who fall into tough times. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in late August of 2005 and a number of stores were shut down, the organization gave employees $250 a week as pay during their time off and even paid for hotel and food expenses.
The couple appreciates the family-owned and operated companyâ€™s willingness to help others and are eager to join the cause.
A list detailing the contents inside of 130 Whataburger Chicken boxes--filled with t-shirts, caps, pens, pins, towels, neckerchiefs and other specialty items--can be found in the â€śKarlâ€™s Kornerâ€ť section on Karlâ€™s blog at www.karlboyd.com (Karl Boyd is Hoepfnerâ€™s pen name).
Bids can be made by using the email address posted on the page, which also lays out the bidding process and other instructions.
â€śThere are a lot of Whataburger fanatics out there that would like to wear the Orange and Blue of Whataburger and help us raise $5,000 for a worthy cause,â€ť Karl said.