Annual Hobo Breakfast

As we have done at PSR conventions for some 36 years now, and before then at PCR conventions back when the PSR and PCR were one Region, Hobos will gather for breakfast during the convention. This year we will meet at in the Inspire Ballroom on the first floor of the hotel for a buffet breakfast at 7:00am on Saturday, September 15. Tickets are $15.00 / person, and are available on the Extra Fare page of the Company Store. 

Hobos are, by definition, model railroaders who have attended at least one NMRA National convention outside the boundary of their home region. While our Hobo group may not be down on their luck or out of work, they are well-traveled folks, and all are welcome to join in this time of camaraderie while enjoying a fine breakfast.

Hobos are encouraged to bring guests to this activity. If you are not a Hobo by definition and would like to join us, you are welcome to come as my guest.

Tickets will also be available at the Company Store. If you haven’t already, please purchase your ticket as soon as possible after you arrive, since we need to alert the hotel as to how many folks are coming. They need to know!

As is customary, we will have the “Official Beggar” circulating with his tin can collecting any coins (or paper) you can contribute toward keeping the Hobo tradition going. We will also have pins and patches for sale at the breakfast, should you wish to advertise your allegiance. 

PSR Hobo History


At the 1961 Pacific Coast Region (PCR) Convention held in Sacramento, California, the Hobos group was formed at a reunion breakfast held by those members who attended the 1960 NMRA SILVER ANNIVERSARY CONVENTION in Chicago, Illinois. Karl Busch, having organized the breakfast, was designated the “Biggest Bum”, and adopted the name “T. Russ Rod”.

The purpose of the Hobos is to encourage and recognize attendance at model railroad conventions, particularly National Conventions. A Hobo goes to conventions for the fun of it, no matter what the program may be. The Hobo group neither supports nor opposes causes or positions. The “group attention” is focused on convention participation and fun.

Hobo membership results to the Region Member attending an out of the region National Convention.

The Hobos are a REGIONAL activity and the “Official Event” is the HOBO BREAKFAST at the Annual Regional Convention.

Through the NMRA there are model railroaders who are members of our Region, in addition to their home Region. These individuals are eligible for Hobo membership when attending a National Convention held outside their home Region. There are many such Hobos. As a result, it is not unusual to have a breakfast at a National Convention. All arrangements for such a breakfast are up to the people in attendance.

At the Hobo group Breakfast of 1964, Paul Shimada assumed the title of “Official Beggar” and collected the Hobo’s pennies, stating, “For the postage, decals, ribbons and pins. All of which have been supplied at no cost to Hobos”. ‘T. Russ Rod’ accepted the pennies, provided he did “not have to limit supplies to the amount received, or count it, or account for it”. This collection has become ‘traditional’ and is the only source of revenue to cover the costs of planning and preparing for the Hobo Breakfast, or other Hobo items and events.

In 1982, the boundaries of the Pacific Coast Region were changed to include only the five northern divisions, Coast, Daylight, Redwood Empire, Sierra, and Hawaiian, of California and Hawaii, while the The Cajon, Los Angles, San Diego and Arizona Divisions became the new Pacific Southwest Region.

In conformance with the basic principles stated above, “The Hobo group neither supports nor opposes causes or positions”; the Hobos are a group affected by the change, not a participant in making the change. 

Since the Hobo membership has been Region-wide, there was no fair way to allot the organization to one of these Regions, and create a new organization in the other Region. Nor, should one Region have sole claim to the Hobo name.

The Hobo idea originated with T. Russ Rod, in San Diego, in the Southern part of the PCR. The founding Breakfast was held in Sacramento, in the Northern part of the PCR, as an accident of convention scheduling, pre-dating the event,

Whatever precedent these elements may be thought to have, regarding a claim on the organization, or the Hobo name, they are not to be considered. The name “Hobo” stays with the members in both Regions. The “herald” remains the same color for both Regions. The Region designation is the only difference in the two heralds.

The “Hobo History” and “Hobo Breakfast Guide” are on file with the Region Secretaries and the Division Superintendents.

The PCR Head Hobo is Ed Hall