Historic mascot played by venerated Bum Mobile driver


Weary Wil

Weary Wil began as a cartoon on a wall in the 1940’s and has come symbolize one SDSU’s most unique traditions. The hobo by choice didn’t make his first appearance in the flesh until 1950, when Western Airlines decided to incorporate the Hobo Day mascot into its first Official flight to Brookings. The first Weary Wil was played by 1952 graduate Walt Conahan.

For the past 60 years Weary Wil has become a staple of the Hobo Day tradition. In 1976 Weary Wil found a friend named Dirty Lil and each year the Hobo Day committee has picked a pair of alumni to play the parts. Through the week leading up to Hobo Day Weary Wil and Dirty Lil attend homecoming events with their true identities a closely guarded secret, until finally being revealed during the Hobo Day football game.

On the front page if this issue Weary Wil is played by another fixture of the SDSU community, Ed Bain.


ED Bain

One of the truly unsung heroes of the SDSU staff Ed Bain has been a part of SDSU for more than 37 years and in that time has been essential to many hobo day celebrations. It takes a person certain skills and talents to do it. Ed Bain was just the man for that job, and he happened upon it almost by accident.

Over the years, people have dubbed him the “Bum Mobile Whisperer,” because he is sometimes the only one who can get it to run.

Bain worked at SDSU for just shy of 37 years. He began working for SDSU in 1974, and in 1976 he began working maintenance in the Student Union. His work on the Bum Mobile began by chance in the early 80s.

Nick Wendell, assistant director of Student Activities, worked closely with Bain both when he was a student at SDSU and now as an SDSU staff member.

“Ed has been a big part of the restoration of the car,” Wendell said. “We needed Ed to define the projects needed for restoration and also for the store and showcasing of the car, as it is over 100 years old.”

Wendell said one thing about Bain being a part of the Bum Mobile is that he makes sure each driver knows the importance of the car.

“Ed is really a bigger part of the process than just doing maintenance on the Bum Mobile,” Wendell said. “He really makes sure that students understand the history of the car and that the Grand Poobas are simply stewards of the vehicle, who continue the tradition and pass it on year after year.”