New Pooba sticks Hobo Days with old traditions

Ann Kopecky

Ann Kopecky

Mark Jobman knows he has a big week ahead of him. He’s been planning it for months.

Sitting on the edge of a couch in the University Program Council office, Jobman turns the three-foot wooden stick over in his hands.

At the very top of the stick is a rabbit head. Both ears are broken off afters years of handling. The year 1981 and the abbreviation SDSU are engraved into the side of the stick.

Since the stick was donated in 1930s, it has been passed from Grand Pooba to Grand Pooba at South Dakota State University.

“It’s just a tradition,” Jobman said.

Traditions are important to Jobman, a senior landscape design major from Hill City.

Jobman worked with various programs and committees through UPC last year.

“I liked to get involved in where the action was and have fun in everything that was going on on campus,” Jobman said. “I just like to be a part of it.”

Since Jobman took the position of Grand Pooba last May, he has been very busy bringing back old Hobo Day traditions.

Jobman talked to SDSU alumni, examined old “Jackrabbit” yearbooks and tried to recapture Hobo Day events lost in the past.

One event lost in the past was Hobo Jeopardy. Jobman said the game, which asked questions about Hobo Days, the Grand Pooba stick and SDSU, was lost sometime during the 1970s.

“I’m trying to bring that back Wednesday night,” Jobman said.

Jobman also worked to bring back the Hobomobilie. Hobomobiles, which stopped in the 1970s, were often popular entries in the parade each year. Students built treehouses on top of cars and rode through the parade.

This year Jobman and other members of the Hobo Day committee have promoted Hobomobiles and will choose a Hobomobile winner in the float contest Saturday.

Besides promoting old traditions of Hobo Days, Jobman also tried to promote events held each year. One event that turned out to be a success this year was the Beards, Pigtails and Hairy Legs contests. More than 40 students, representatives from clubs and organizations, signed up for the contest Monday. Students had one month to try to grow their hair out the longest.

“I’m glad we’re bringing that back,” Jobman said.

No matter what the Hobo Day event is, Jobman has had a hand in planning it.

The UPC and the Hobo Day committee put on every one of the events during Hobo Days. Jobman has been working since June, creating designs for T-shirts, posters and bumper stickers and getting promotions out on campus for the events.

The Hobo Day parade is Jobman’s largest responsibility.

“I make sure everything is taken care of and have a lot of fun doing it,” Jobman said.

Since Jobman got the position as Grand Pooba, he has worked with many faculty members, students and staff to plan the events. The Hobo Day committee alone has 50 to 75 committee members, made up of volunteer students.

“I know a lot more people on campus,” Jobman said. “That’s really cool to get to know them on a one-to-one basis.”

Jobman has also met many members of the SDSU student body through his position. One week Jobman drove the Bummobile around on campus, giving students a ride to class.

For those students who do not know the Grand Pooba yet, Jobman can be easily spotted this week as he will carry the Grand Pooba stick with him all week.

Jobman said that he is going to carry the stick so that he has the Grand Pooba tradition behind him.

After months of planning, Jobman has a few expectations for the week of events.

“I want a big attendance at each event. I want to see people having fun,” Jobman said. “I hope the parade goes well. I hope we have good weather for it. I obviously hope we win the football game.”