River Rats: Hobos Gather for ‘Trampfest 2000’

River Rats: Hobos Gather for ‘Trampfest
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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