New Grand Pooba carries on Hobo Day tradition


Lindsey Galbreath, Reporter

Regen Wiederrich, a senior communications student from Sioux Falls, is this year’s Grand Pooba and in charge of all Hobo Week festivities.

Inspired by a former admission ambassador, Wiederrich joined the Hobo Day Committee in the spring semester of his sophomore year. The Hobo Day Committee is led by the grand pooba and three assistant poobas who manage the events that take place over the busy week. 

Wiederrich was hesitant to apply for the Hobo Day Committee and brushed off his friends who encouraged him. He decided to apply on the last day the application was open and ended up getting picked. Since then, Wiederrich is thankful that people pushed him to step out of his comfort zone because this has been an experience he will never forget. 

During his first year on the committee, Wiederrich served as the security coordinator. The following year, he was the parade assistant pooba and worked with other members of the committee to organize and conduct the Hobo Day parade.

“I thought that it was very cool being able to see all of the people coming back to town last year after COVID-19 and seeing all of the support for something you are putting on,” Wiederrich said. 

As the grand pooba, his duties include leading interviews for the new committee selection, weekly committee meetings, communicating with groups and leaders on campus, leading the new members of the committee to help them succeed and speaking with students and community members.

“I am looking forward to seeing what everyone on the committee can do to make Hobo Day great,” Wiederrich said. He added that it is “neat” to watch and oversee homecoming come together and is excited for what this year’s event will look like. 

Some of the things Wiederrich personally enjoys most about Hobo Day is the parade and the One Month Club, where students who want to participate do not shave for the month leading up to Hobo Day. 

Bum-A-Meal is one of the more popular events that happens over the week, Wiederrich said. It allows over 700 students to find host families in Brookings so they can get a meal. This event  connects students and the Brookings neighborhoods and those in support of South Dakota State University, Wiederrich said. 

Throughout the Hobo Week, the committee also hosts multiple events for students to participate in, including Bum-A-Meal, Rally at the Rails, BumFire, One Month Club and more. 

When asked if there were any new traditions that would be featured during Hobo Day, Wiederrich said, “All of the committee events are traditional. However, Rally the Rails has changed days, and there will be a new Mulligan Stew Cookoff for clubs, along with trivia.” 

Committee members and Wiederrich urge students to check out this new event that will be taking place on Friday.

Another change this year is that everything will be how it was a few years back prior to COVID.

Hobo Day has been a South Dakota State University tradition since 1912. Thousands of students, community members, alumni and supporters of the Jackrabbits flock to campus each year. 

Typically, the Hobo Day Committee anticipates an average of 15,000 people will come to town. One of the biggest Hobo Day events based on football ticket sales was last year, Wiederrich said. 

The planning for Hobo Days typically starts in the spring when the selection for a new committee begins. Wiederrich will oversee this selection and help the new committee take over. Planning for Hobo Day takes about eight months and the completion of tasks and the chaos kicks in the month before Hobo Day. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing what each of the coordinators on the committee can do and when I go to their events,” Wiederrich said. “I can smile and be happy that their hard work is paying off and am excited to see them succeed, that’s what is really exciting to me because we have planned for this week for so long.”