Half Track Interview
DH: You won the title of Hobo Queen in 2005 and again in 2022. How long have you been riding the rails and what got you into the hobo culture?
HT: I have never actively rode the rails. I did try to ride 3 times. the first 2 were a bust and the third time was fabulous I was invited to go with a friend as moral support and ended up at the hobo convention, that was in 1997.
DH: What is the story behind the name, Half Track?
HT: It was given to me by Frypan Jack after passing out candy at that first convention, he passed before I could find out why, my guess I was a little bit of an airhead trying to take on everything that year.
DH: Do you have a moniker you draw on boxcars?
HT: Not Answered.
DH: How long have you been attending the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa and how has it changed over the years?
HT: I have attended 26 years in a row. Everything in life changes, some good, some bad. What the convention needs is younger riders to come and get involved with the multiple tasks, we are getting old and we need others to keep it going.
DH: Do you have any advice for the younger generation wanting to ride the rails?
HT: Since I have never really rode all I would say is be safe and true to yourself.
DH: Speaking of the younger generation, you know The Texas Roadrunner. He’s perhaps the youngest active hobo. He started riding at age 14 and might run for Hobo King in 2023 becoming the youngest King ever crowned. How would you feel about that and do you have any advice for him?
HT: I think Roadrunner would make an excellent King representing our community well. Keep being you!
DH: What does holding the title Queen of the Hoboes mean to you?
HT: The title means I am a representative of an important part of our history and bridge between the hobos and middle class society.
DH: During your travels is there a special place, person, or experience you’ll always remember?
HT: I have so many special experiences that it would be hard to pick one or two, people one is Preacher Steve who I married in the jungle and Mpls Jewel who I try to emulate. My biggest honor is running the memorial service every year, it’s my way of honoring my friends and family.
DH: How do you feel about spray painted graffiti on the side of trains? Do you think it is going to be the death of traditional hobo monikers from days gone by?
HT: As long as people don’t cover the old, but again time marches on.
DH: Thank you for your time, is there anything else you’d like to add?
HT: It’s been an honor to be accepted by this group of people and I’m thrilled to be able to bring my children into this world. I am equally grateful my grandson is become a regular attendee.