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Hobos converge on Britt for National Hobo Convention

For Hobo King & Queen candidates, they're sharing their experiences while on the road

Posted: Aug 11, 2019 12:19 AM
Updated: Aug 11, 2019 10:05 AM

BRITT, Iowa - You may have heard about the hobo culture during the Great Depression era in the 1930s. But what you may not know is that there are still hobos in the U.S., crossing the country looking for work with little belongings.

This week in Britt, hobos from all over converged on the Hancock County town for the National Hobo Convention and Hobo Days, which pays homage and respect to the hobo lifestyle. 

During the King & Queen coronation at City Park on Saturday, nominees are advocating their reasons why people should vote for them, including sharing their own personal experiences while living on the road.

Road Runner, originally from Texas, is one of them. He's been a hobo since he was 17 years old, when he lost his apartment.

"Roommates were always on drugs, and they actually took my name off the lease illegally and sold most of my stuff. I decided if I either hit the road or I go insane."

Five years later, he's been in virtually every part of the country except the Northeast looking for work.

"Whether it's farming, construction...if I can't find any work, I'll play music or I go out and do any crafts here and there."

It's his first time visiting Britt, and has gained a new found appreciation of the town.

"It's really fascinating to actually be in a town where they actually accept us for who we are. You go anywhere else, where everybody treats us poorly."

Bookworm Bonnie is a former Hobo Queen from Minnesota, and has come to Britt for over a decade. She feels for what these mostly young men, women and children go through.

"Some of them are kids that were kicked out of their homes, or sad stories. Mom, Dad died, who knows? Terrible stories. For whatever reason, this is the way they can go, on the road and hopefully find something better."

During last year's coronation, the most recent Hobo King had such a compelling story that he won easily.

"He's been a rail rider for 50 years. And when people saw that, he was appointed immediately, because he really knew what he was talking about. He came out and said, 'this is everything I own,' and he dumped his knapsack. That was pretty powerful."

For Road Runner, he plans to resume looking for work after the Convention wraps up for the year. When he's on the road, he follows a plan to keep him on the right path such as staying away from drugs and alcohol, and always watching his back.

"We're not out here to show off. We're just out here trying to live and survive."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 447349

Reported Deaths: 6007
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin929301478
Ramsey39917738
Dakota32945340
Anoka30935364
Washington20116227
Stearns17847187
St. Louis13658241
Scott1193296
Wright11598104
Olmsted1045075
Sherburne820665
Carver693436
Clay651680
Rice605268
Kandiyohi553671
Blue Earth539933
Crow Wing482574
Otter Tail456367
Chisago452032
Benton419586
Winona388046
Douglas373966
Nobles369646
Mower364729
Goodhue346858
Polk328256
McLeod324745
Morrison311544
Beltrami309947
Lyon301136
Becker284639
Itasca284543
Isanti282441
Carlton279443
Steele27279
Pine266613
Freeborn244621
Todd231730
Nicollet224036
Brown214734
Mille Lacs214046
Le Sueur209415
Cass207623
Meeker199433
Waseca188916
Wabasha17023
Martin169926
Roseau165416
Hubbard149238
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Renville137239
Houston135613
Dodge13434
Chippewa131032
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Fillmore12315
Wadena119916
Rock110112
Sibley10847
Aitkin108033
Watonwan10638
Faribault105716
Pennington99215
Kanabec97418
Pipestone94023
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Murray8815
Jackson85310
Swift83418
Pope7385
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Wilkin6249
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Lincoln4831
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Unassigned44168
Grant4298
Norman4238
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Cook1140

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 304391

Reported Deaths: 4270
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45574448
Linn17742274
Scott15414163
Black Hawk13696236
Woodbury12968175
Johnson1207549
Dubuque11348150
Pottawattamie8959112
Dallas885171
Story865434
Webster468271
Cerro Gordo464768
Sioux454456
Clinton449461
Warren440738
Marshall426561
Buena Vista392329
Muscatine388477
Des Moines381041
Plymouth349768
Wapello342398
Jasper321258
Lee315830
Marion303852
Jones270649
Henry263830
Carroll253934
Bremer242648
Crawford229422
Boone217017
Washington216831
Benton209244
Mahaska191836
Jackson191431
Tama186657
Dickinson185026
Delaware173036
Kossuth172143
Clay167319
Wright163624
Fayette161122
Buchanan159123
Hamilton158729
Winneshiek155219
Harrison154862
Hardin154429
Cedar152519
Clayton151348
Butler147324
Page144215
Floyd138836
Cherokee138427
Mills136216
Lyon134832
Poweshiek132424
Hancock129824
Allamakee127627
Iowa124322
Calhoun12209
Grundy120526
Jefferson120124
Madison11999
Winnebago118729
Mitchell116134
Louisa114730
Cass112841
Chickasaw110912
Sac110915
Emmet110431
Appanoose110138
Union108222
Humboldt105319
Guthrie102924
Shelby102126
Franklin101718
Unassigned9230
Palo Alto9049
Keokuk84926
Montgomery84822
Howard83119
Monroe80918
Clarke7927
Pocahontas77611
Ida74130
Davis69121
Greene6917
Adair68720
Lucas6488
Monona64016
Osceola6389
Worth6063
Taylor5919
Fremont5086
Van Buren49612
Decatur4824
Ringgold4289
Audubon4158
Wayne41421
Adams2953
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