South Dakota Flashback: The 1990 SDSU Hobo Day Riots
The date was October 20, 1990. What started as a homecoming celebration at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, quickly turned into hundreds of rioters vandalizing and starting fires, marking what many South Dakotans know as the Hobo Day Riots.
Along with a crackdown of alcohol in the dorms and spurred by a Jackrabbit football loss to Sioux Falls' Augustana (31-0) a usually quiet city and campus began to unwind.
What is South Dakota State University's Hobo Days?
The Hobo Day homecoming tradition has been a memorable part of South Dakota State University for over a century. The roots of the celebration were planned in 1907 with the "Nightshirt Parade" when students dressed in sheets and PJs to encourage a football win.
The University didn't like the idea of women in their jammies outside in public, it was the nineteen aughts after all. So, in 1912 students took a page from other colleges and developed Hobo Day.
The first official Hobo Day at SDSU was on November 2, 1912. To celebrate the men grew beards and the women put on costumes, then they all met the opposing football team at the train station.
Over the years other traditions developed, including the parade and the Bummobile.
The 1990 South Dakota State University Hobo Day Riots
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