Who are Weary Wil and Dirty Lil?

Shelli White

Shelli WhiteReporter

Traditions abound once again as Weary WIl and Dirty Lil prepare for their debut this Hobo Day. These characters have been a staple tradition in the Hobo Day festivities for quite some time.

Weary Wil and Dirty Lil have been staples of Hobo Day for decades. With the two colorful characters comes an interesting history.

Weary Wil started as a drawing in 1940 and turned into a person in 1950 said Chuck Cecil, former assistant to the SDSU president. Dirty Lil first appeared in 1976.

“There are two ways to view Weary Wil and Dirty Lil: the costumed individuals chosen every year or the cartoons,” said Matt Fuks, President and CEO of the SDSU Alumni Association.

“Walt Conahan, a 1952 printing and rural journalism alum, was the first living and breathing Weary Willie,” Cecil said

Conahan said in 1950, Western Airlines was going to have its first passenger flight into Brookings and they wanted to incorporate Weary Wil into the flight.

“The homecoming committee thought it would be fun to tie homecoming into that and have Weary Willie come in on the inaugural flight,” Conahan said.

This flight marked the first time anyone had seen Weary Wil in the flesh.

“The plane flew into Brookings before its first official flight and picked me up,” Conahan said. “Then we flew down to Huron, I changed into my Hobo Day garb, and we flew back to Brookings.”

Cecil said 500 students, SDSU’s president and the Bummobile greeted Weary Wil when he arrived.

“At some point, Weary Willie was changed to Weary Wil because Wil rhymed with Lil,” Cecil said.

“The artists definitely drew Wil and Lil as children of their decades,” Fuks said. “Wil is more of a traditional 50’s drawing while Lil is more of a hippie.”

“Each year the current Grand Pooba chooses a man and woman who are homecoming committee alums,” said Nick Wendell, assistant director of the Union.

The identities are kept secret until half time of the homecoming game.

“As former Hobo Day committee alumni, we know this is an important part of Hobo Day and feel honored to have been chosen for these characters,” said this year’s Weary Wil and Dirty Lil. “We hope we are up to the task as we go among the current student group to spark school spirit.”

Weary Wil and Dirty Lil said their identities are kept secret to keep the focus on Hobo Day instead of on themselves personally.

“We are both excited and a little nervous for this week, but we hope SDSU fans will get into the spirit,” Dirty Lil said.

Weary Wil and Dirty Lil said they predict SDSU will win homecoming on Saturday by six points.

“We have our lucky rituals like always eating beans on game day, for protein as you know,” they said in character.

Again speaking in character, Wil and Lil said they will not clean up for Hobo Day because they like to keep themselves always ready for the next adventure and will bring love and peace to shower on all they meet.

Conahan said he thinks Weary Wil and Dirty Lil are representatives of SDSU’s homecoming.

“Weary Wil and Dirty Lil are symbolic of the university’s heritage and perfectly characterize Hobo Day.” Conahan said.

Weary Wil and Dirty Lil can be seen at events during Hobo Week and leading the Hobo Day parade on Oct. 23.

“I think Weary Wil and Dirty Lil make SDSU more unique since we do not have an official homecoming king and queen, and the two characters reflect well on the university and the student body,” Conahan said.

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