Bummobile catches fire

Sean Kennedy

Sean Kennedy

A 90-year-old SDSU tradition, the Bummobile, started on fire in downtown Brookings last Thursday night after the parade for the Thumpin’ Thursday events which welcomed students back to Brookings.

The fire started after the vehicle was turned off at the end of the parade.

Abby Bischoff, Hobo Day Grand Pooba, said that the Bummobile will probably be fixed in time for this year’s Hobo Day parade.

If the vehicle cannot run, it will either be pushed or put on a float. Either way, she said, it will still be in the parade.

The Bummobile has been in every Hobo Day parade since 1938, except for 1942, when, Bischoff said, classes were cancelled so students could help with the war effort.

According to Bischoff, the exact problems with the car are not yet known, but mechanics suspect one of two problems.

“They either think the oil cap wasn’t on right or the exhaust manifold, which is where the exhaust leaves, was blocked by a floorboard,” Bischoff said.

The problems with the Bummobile started at last year’s Hobo Day parade when the vehicle had to be pushed through the end of the parade.

Over the summer, various alumni donated time and funding to have the Bummobile repaired for this year’s Hobo Day festivities. According to Bischoff, the effort to repair the 1912 Model-T started last year after alumni saw the vehicle at the end of the parade.

“Labor and cost were minimal this summer to get it fixed,” Bischoff said. “This means a lot to a lot of alumni. Hobo Day is such a fun time for them.”

The Bummobile has a lot of historical significance for SDSU.

The vehicle was originally donated by Frank Weigel, a farmer from Flandreau. The model year is significant because it marks the first year that Hobo Day was held. President Eisenhower rode in the Bummobile when he visited the campus.

Grand Marshall of this year’s Hobo Day parade is Lester Clarke, class of ’43, from Aberdeen. He would have graduated in ’42 if classes had not been cancelled that year. The parade is Oct. 5.