100 Years of Hobo Day

Jordan Smith

The Bummobile hit the road this summer for a series of parades in small towns in South Dakota. The tour began on St. Patrick’s Day, and the summer tour dates began on June 2 in Lake Andes, S.D. The parade tour ended in Huron, S.D., on Sept. 1 at the South Dakota State Fair.

“The purpose of the tour is to spread Hobo spirit across the state and inform citizens about our celebration,” said Abby Settje, Grand Pooba for the 2012 Hobo Day celebration.

The towns the Bummobile went to ranged from Taber to Mobridge to Eureka and even made a stop in Pipestone, Minn. A complete list of the tour dates and locations can be found on sdstate.edu/hoboday.

“We tried to choose towns that were spread across South Dakota and also fit with the committee’s busy schedule. The goal was to reach as many South Dakotans as we could,” Settje said.

Settje said that, in the past, the Bummobile toured around South Dakota with the Hobo Day Committee.

According to director of Student Engagement Wendell, the last time the Bummobile went on a parade tour was in 2004. Since this year is the 100 years of Hobo Day celebration, it is the perfect time to bring back the tradition of the parade tour.

Ty Littau, dignitaries coordinator for the 100th year of Hobo Day, acts as one of two student drivers for the Bummobile.

“The Bummobile is a huge part of our tradition here at SDSU. I am very proud to say that I have been able to drive it and help at least in a small way to care for the vehicle,”


Littau said.

Communities throughout South Dakota responded positively to the Bummobile making an appearance.

“The response was phenomenal,” Wendell said. “Since SDSU is South Dakota’s largest public university, there are a lot of Jackrabbits out there. The people thought it was neat to see their alma mater back in their hometowns.”

“Everywhere we went, the committee and car were met with open arms and celebrated by our outstanding alums and future Jackrabbits,” Littau said. “When you see the Bummobile on the move you can’t help but smile. Cars honk and people wave when we are rolling. There is a deep sense of pride in South Dakota for the car and our celebration.”

There was a lot of pride from SDSU graduates in the crowds. According to Wendell, Hobo Day is known as the biggest one-day event in the Dakotas.

“Without the students’ energy, the success would not have been as great; the students were so committed and really brought along the Hobo spirit,” Wendell said.

According to Wendell, the Hobo Day Committee is trying to get the Bummobile out and about as much as possible now.  It was out during Convocation and also during move-in weekend to get everyone excited for the events that are coming.

“The committee truly enjoyed being out and about and helping students move and arrive at their destinations,” Settje said. “The Bummobile represents Hobo Day, which is a student-run event, so we want the SDSU student body to see and have the opportunity to enjoy a ride in the 1912 Model T.”

Wendell said that now that the Bummobile is back in great shape, it offers a neat opportunity to promote Hobo Day and South Dakota State. The Hobo Day Gallery offers SDSU students a chance to better explore the rich history of Hobo Day.

“The Hobo Day Gallery allows everyone to see the Bummobile year round and to celebrate and honor it as a Hobo Day tradition,” Wendell said.

Hobo Day is off to a great start in making a memorable year, especially for Littau.

“Driving the Bummobile is the thrill of a lifetime,” Littau said. “Working with the Hobo Day Committee has been a truly unique and rewarding part of my college experience and one I will have very fond feelings for going forward in life.”