Friday, September 4, 2015

Western Hats: Not Just For Cowboys Anymore

Charles Pogue
Photo by Linda Pogue

Western Hats Are Not Just For Cowboys

A Guest Post by Charles Pogue

I was only about 4 or 5 years old when my parents presented me and my brother with our first cowboy hats.

Of course, they were the straw variety with a sheriff’s badge affixed to the front, and a draw string that closed up under our chins, but those little hats were an introduction to what I now believe to be the most fashionable of any hat under the sun and wide open sky, western hats.

Hey, they really enhanced our riding the stick-horsesin the posses with our cousins, trying to hunt down the robbers of the Overland stage coach or the Tombstone Territory bank.

Those who are old enough to remember them still stand amazed at the old western movies in which the hero and the bad guy engaged in a vicious round of fisticuffs.

Usually, the bad guy lost his dome adornment right away, but the good guy’s hat stayed on his head like it was held on by super glue. Those old movies kind of made us realize how much the hat was an important part of the cowboy’s attire.

Of course, the hat was mostly for protection and keeping the sun out of his eyes so the cowboy could spot the coiled up rattler on the trail. That’s not to mention, the cattle rustler who found waving his hat was an excellent way to start a stampede.

Not only that, but a 'fellar' was kind of sized up by the town sheriff according to his clothes, including his hat. The wanted poster for the outlaw might tell his height, about the scar on his left cheek, and the color of his hat.

Western hats are not just for cowboys and cowgirls anymore. Country music stars often wear western hats. I once had a hat that I fashioned after the style of my favorite singer, Don Williams. That hat now resides in the family curio case museum at my daughter’s house. At least it was there the last time I looked.


Back in Texas, we used to refer to a western hat as a Stetson. Every cowboy’s hat was a Stetson.

Truth is though, it’s kind of like the old saying used in other contexts; all Stetsons are hats, but not all hats are Stetsons.

Stetson is a brand name, a mighty fine hat, but by no means is it the only good one.

Resistoland Justin are two of the other well-known brands, but there are plenty of others, too.

Hats are rated by what is known as the X-factor system, dependent upon the percentage of beaver fur in the hat. I wonder how many beavers it takes to make a Hoss Cartwright hat?

Anyway, they range from the lowly 1X all the way up to 100X: the higher the X-factor the more expensive the hat.  However, the different hat makers use different standards, so it’s kind of a subjective system. Cowboy hats start under $100.00 and can go as high as $1,000.

Western hats are available in woven straw, felt, wool, Buffalo-fur, and leather, too. There are plenty of hats for the cowboy, cowgirl, or anyone else drawn to western style hats. You’ll find them in all sizes, as well as lots of colors and styles.

Western hats are out there for every occasion, too, from a really nice one to wear in the rodeo parade or any formal occasion, to graceful one for the barrel racer, and the rugged one for the bull rider in action. There are even red ones made especially for women who take pride in their membership in the red hat society.

There are also hat care kits, brushes, and hat stretchers for the cowboy who suddenly gets the big head, a not too uncommon occurrence, I’ve been told. Regardless of the price range or style you are looking for, there’s a western hat just waiting to get a head, including yours!

Did you have a straw cowboy hat when you were little?

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