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BRITT, IA – This weekend is the 113th Annual National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa.
This convention is important to the hobo community because it is their opportunity to congregate and elect their new hobo royalty for the year.
A hobo King or Queen has the job of spreading stories about hobos, their lives, and the manner in which they live.
Tuck, or Darrel Ray has been coming to this convention for the past 20 years and he was the Hobo King in 2007.
Tuck was a candidate for this year’s election and was excited about the opportunity because of what he believed he could do for the Hobo community.
“I want to try and keep the history of the hobos alive,” Tuck said.
The process of deciding who can become a candidate for King or Queen is an important aspect of this weekend.
“We have to screen these people because the candidates that run for king, we want them to be authentic hobos…we don’t want no phonies,” Tuck said.
The only non-authentic hobos at today’s festivities were kids and Britt residence dressing up in support of the events.
There was a parade, town activities and one tradition that made today so special to the hobos and Britt’s history.
Mulligan Stew is a staple in the hobo community because each hobo at a site contributes what they have and they make a community pot that help feeds whoever is at that specific train stop.
Dwight Lerrar created today’s stew much like a hobo would; in massive tin barrels and very early in the morning.
He arrive at the park at 5:00 Saturday morning to begin cooking the ingredients that would later translate into enough stew to feed over 2,000 people.
This five day long event is one that every hobo looks forward to because it allows them to have a concrete community and base camp and for tuck, this weekend is special to him because of the memories he has made coming back to Britt year after year.
“I met my wife here in 1994, Minneapolis Jewel, she’s been elected queen of the hobos 4 times and at home I keep hearing all that 4 queens beats 1 king so that be nice.”