BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — The week of Hobo Day brings friends and family together, but since 1983, it has also been bringing a group of Georgia men to Brookings.
Jim McKinney was a Director of Bands at SDSU when his high school friends thought it would be a good idea to surprise him during Hobo Day week by driving onto the football field as the band was practicing.
“He saw who it was and he yelled out, ‘Move that car or you’ll ruin my show’ because they were practicing the halftime show. And Smiley yelled up ‘It’s not your show anymore McKinney, it’s our show now.’ It’s pretty much been our show ever since,” says Georgia Boy Tom Eads.
“We’ve been great friends, as Tom said for many years, so it was a real pleasure to see them but I knew it wouldn’t be a peaceful hobo day,” says Former SDSU director of bands Jim McKinney.
The group has been back almost every homecoming since then, even being part of a parade float in honor of McKinney.
“Then it said ‘The Georgia Boys: Tom, Rick and Dave.’ And the entire route of the parade, people from the side are yelling, and they’re not even waving at Jim. They’d say ‘Hey Tom look, it’s the Georgia Boys’,” says Eads.
It’s been 41 years since the first Georgia Boys trip to Hobo Day, and because of that the Brookings Mayor did something special for them.
The Georgia Boys put together a proclamation, declaring October 14th of 2023 “The Georgia Boys Day”.
“And the Mayor of Brookings signed that. It’s a neat thing to have today named ‘The Georgia Boys Day’,” says McKinney.
Not only have they left their legacy on Hobo Day, but it has also left a mark on them.
“And then we’ve fell in love with everybody here,” says Eads.
The group has had different men join them in the Hobo Day festivities throughout the years, but McKinney and Eads are the only Georgia Boys who attended this year.