1. First off, candidates must qualify to run.
2. King candidates must be currently riding or have ridden the rails for at least 5 years, attended the Hobo Convention at least 3 times, be screened by a committee, and not have been King in the past 3 years.
3. The screening committee is made up of former Hobo Kings.
This is a picture of the Hobo Kings that attended this year’s convention.
4. Get the former Kings to like you.
They have the most power and sway. They can make or break your run for Hobo King or Queen.
5. Queens must have attended the Hobo Convention 3 times, and actively contribute to the betterment of the hobo community. Queens DO NOT have to ride the rails, and will not be screened.
6. If you have the qualifications then you have to sign up before the end of the second night of the Convention.
8. Make sure Britt, Iowa, knows your name!
The King and Queen is determined by both hoboes and the people of Britt, Iowa. Anyone who attends the Hobo King and Queen ceremony can “vote” because voting is done by applause. The candidate with the loudest applause wins.
9. If you have the resources, make a fancy sign.
10. Tag the camp with your campaign signs.
11. It doesn’t hurt to tag the stores in Britt, Iowa, as well.
Get your name out there.
12. Help out around camp.
Sign up for chores!
King candidate Minneapolis Jim scoops beans.
14. Participate in Hobo Convention events.
In this picture, Angel is participating in a hobo wedding.
15. Talk to people!
Make sure the other hoboes know your name, and that you’re a good candidate. Hobo Kings and Queens need to have the “gift of gab.”
16. Get people to campaign for you.
17. Your best opportunity to campaign and be seen is during the Hobo Parade.
18. King and Queen candidates follow a float of hoboes in golf carts.
19. Make sure you get hoboes on the float to hold your signs.
22. Also, shout your name! Don’t just sit there!
Mad Mary totally flopped during the parade because she didn’t shout her name. She had no visibility or signs. Flop.
23. The actual King and Queen ceremony happens at the Britt City Park Gazebo. You should try to campaign in the park before the ceremony begins.
25. The candidates sit in a gazebo before they give their speech. Make sure you sit next to someone important.
Hobo Lump is a legend. She’s the oldest living Hobo Queen. This was a good move for Minneapolis Jim.
26. Sing along to the National Anthem.
The election of the Hobo King and Queen begins with the singing of the National Anthem by the Serenity Sisters. All 3 Serenity Sisters are former Hobo Queens.
The Serenity Sisters sing the complete version of the National Anthem, the version with 4 extra verses.
Bonus points to candidates who knew the extra verses of the National Anthem
27. Love America.
Hoboes love the USA. By knowing the National Anthem and loving America you surely have an advantage.
28. Next, give a short 30 second speech.
29. DON’T try anything funny.
Graincar George tried to play his drum after his speech. This doesn’t fly at the hobo election and he was quickly shushed away to his seat by the master of ceremony.
30. DON’T read your speech off a paper.
Daisy made the mistake of reading her speech off a piece of paper. Not the hobo way.
31. DON’T come off as desperate.
Mad Mary’s big line in her speech was that she just wanted people to love her.
32. DO be genuine and speak from your heart.
33. Woo the crowd.
34. Get hoboes to stand.
Inkman is an influential hobo. His endorsement surely helped Angel’s victory as Queen.
Tuck also stood for Angel, which also contributed to her victory.
36. The winners are announced!
Congratulations Angel and Minneapolis Jim!
37. A former King helps put on the new King’s bandana.
38. While a former Queen helps the new Queen with her cape.
39. Get your patch. Now it’s time for your closeup.
Every winner gets a patch.
40. Be gracious to your supporters.
Wave the townspeople. They’re the ones who made you King and Queen.
41. Don’t be a sore loser.
Suck it up. Take your fancy sign and walk away. There’s always next year.
42. And last but not least, if you have a car, you should definitely get a hobo license plate.
Congratulations! You are a hobo legend. You will go down in history as a Hobo King or Queen. Once a Hobo King or Queen, always a Hobo King or Queen.
All photos by Matt Stopera