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On The Light Side

August 3, 1987

BRITT, Iowa (AP) _ Horace Hampton, the ″Alabama Hobo,″ had the advantage of being used to the 90-degree heat he had to endure before being crowned king for the year at the National Hobo Convention here.

Hampton,from Attalla, Ala., said that before becoming a hobo he was a boiler tender on a steam locomotive.

He sweated through his green shirt and parts of his robe during the competition Saturday, which drew a smaller crowd than in past years, apparently because of the heat.

After the coronation, announcer Harold Boekelman told spectators to ″go over and help yourself to some mulligan stew - there’s still some left.″

Normally the stew runs out, gobbled up by a crowd of more than 20,000 over two days.

Steve Olmstead, an assistant scoutmaster helping Boy Scouts serve the stew, estimated 1,500 servings were dished out this year. Leftovers were hauled over to the ″hobo jungle″ at the northeast edge of town by the railroad tracks, said Olmstead.

The absence of some popular hobos, such as Box Car Willie, may also have hurt attendance, said Olmstead. Willie has retired from hoboing and gone into the publishing business in Branson, Mo., he said.


PRAGUE, Neb. (AP) - Residents put their Czechoslovakian heritage and a walk-in oven to work baking ″The World’s Largest Kolach,″ a pastry weighing in at more than 2,600 pounds.

Mayor Ken Kuncl said Prague, a community of 285 people that was named after the Czech capital, wanted to land a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Guinness officials said they don’t have a category for a kolach, Kuncl said. ″But if we made ours big enough so it would be world class, they would consider it for listing,″ he said.

A refrigerated truck brought 712 pounds of prepared dough from the Vienna Bakery at Fremont to Prague on Saturday. Volunteers kneaded the dough, shaping it for a bucket brigade that dumped 250 gallons of cherry filling in the center.

At noon, the propane-heated, 24-by-24-foot oven was fired for the two-hour, 40-minute baking time.

By the time the frosting and coconut trim was added, the kolach weighed in at 2,605 pounds, said Joan Fendrich, a supervisor of the effort.


ELMA, Wash. (AP) - A slug named Cindy’s Daughter oozed only 3 inches from the starting line, but it was enough for the 7-inch, spotted mass of slime to win the adult finals of the International Slug Racing championships at the Elma Slug Festival.

Cindy’s Daughter, owned by Joan McElwain of Portland, Ore., moved 3 inches along the 0.003 furlong course Saturday before it turned back toward the starting gate.

One of the other two entrants, State Bird, a speedster in Friday’s preliminary competition, never moved a millimeter during the five-minute time limit. The other racer, Sundance, was disqualified for going outside of its lane.

The festival also featured parades, singers, dancers, music and vendors selling greeting cards with the message ″Slime in the Mood for Love.″