River Rats: Hobos Gather for 'Trampfest 2000'

| September 5, 2000

River Rats: Hobos Gather for 'Trampfest 2000' Paul Demko, City Pages
In early August, more than 100 hobos and train hoppers from across the Midwest converged in St. Paul, Minnesota, for 'Trampfest 2000,' reports Paul Demko in the Minneapolis/St. Paul alt weekly City Pages. Trampfest arose from the ashes of last year's National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa, home of the Hobo Museum, which critics say was hindered by 'police harassment, lack of financial support from the town, and outright fraud in the annual election of the King and Queen of the Hobos.' During the fest's lazy days and nights of bonfires, wrestling, banjo-picking, and heavy drinking in the encampment they call 'the Jungle,' Demko talks to several travelers about their lives. 'I ride trains to get away from people,' says one train hopper. 'It's this weird, metal piece of transportation that not many people use anymore-and I can get anywhere I want on it. I'm hanging my legs off a boxcar, smoking a cigarette, eating some pork and beans. Oh yeah.'--Amanda Luker
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