Lack of Hobo royalty bums out some bums


Heather Mangen

With homecoming comes football games, parties, school spirit, activities, parades and homecoming kings and queens. However, South Dakota State University Hobo Days is different.

Hobo Days is the only college homecoming in the north-central area that doesn’t currently have a homecoming king and queen. But, that wasn’t always the case.

Although SDSU had a Hobo Day king and queen, it was different from traditional homecoming kings and queens at other schools.

“It’s to my knowledge that we never had the traditional king and queen of homecoming,” said V.J. Smith, director of the Alumni Association. “The only thing I have ever seen were pictures of Hobos that were selected.”

According to old issues of SDSU’s yearbook, “The Jackrabbit,” students would dress up like Hobos and Hoboettes.

They would put on layers and layers of tattered clothes and repulsing accessories to look like a true Hobo.

The students would ride through the parade and were judged the grubbiest, the most oddly dressed and the best costume.

“The people who dressed in the most interesting Hobo outfit became the kings and queens of Hobo Days,” said Smith.

During halftime of the game, a king and queen were announced. They were crowned with an old coffee can cut into the shape of a crown by Miss South Dakota or Miss SDSU. The king and queen would then reign for a year.

“It wasn’t based on beauty. It wasn’t based on popularity. It was based on how they looked as Hobos,” Smith said.

Smith said that this tradition took place as early as the first part of the century. Archive issues of “The Collegian” and “The Jackrabbit” indicate that the Hobo Day homecoming king and queen were a big part of Hobo Days up until the 1970s. The last king and queen were crowned in 1980 and they haven’t existed since.

It is unknown why there is no longer a king and queen of Hobo Days. The reason could not be found in past issues of “The Collegian” or “The Jackrabbit.”

Smith said that most things are lost in history because they never get documented. There is also no documentation if something else replaced the king and queen.

Some students believe that SDSU should reinstate this tradition.

“If people are voting for the homecoming king and queen, it will give them something to do and think about during Hobo Week,” said sophomore Eric Knudsen.

However some think this tradition should remain in the past.

“I think the homecoming king and queen were overrated in high school,” said junior Jenna Kephart, a nursing major.

This year’s Grand Pooba, Mark Jobman, said that there isn’t really an interest of having a king and queen because Hobo Days involves Weary Wil and Dirty Lil and a Greek god and goddess.