Posts Tagged ‘Cowboy Hats’

Hats off…

January 23rd, 2013 by Amy

cowboy hat

The American cowboy hat, as we know it today, didn’t exist in the 1840′s.  Hats worn by those legendary mountain men were generally made of pelts; a few of wool for the hunters and trappers who ventured into town for supplies.  Moving west hats were generally a sign of a profession, or reflections of cultural practices.  Hardy men trailing cattle wore a variety of styles, shapes and materials to fashion their head gear.

The traditional Chilean horsemen wore what is called the Chupalla.  They were first made of a plant named the bromelia which locals called achupalla.  Now they are made of rice and wheat.  The Chupalla was also used for a traditional Chilean folk dance.  However, with the high cost of hats now a day, it is difficult to see any wage earning cowboy stomping this valuable accessory into the ground with dirty boots and spurs.

Today there is a well-respected cowboy and one of the original “horse whisperers” who is generally seen wearing a version of the Chupalla.  Buck Brannnaman has long been admired for his skill with a horse.  Perhaps Brannaman’s easy going mannerisms; laid back way with horses is symbolized perfectly by the phrase “por la chupalla” which loosely translates to “what the heck”.  Or perhaps he is a great Chilean dancer.

Around 1865 John B. Stetson traveled west in search of a drier climate for health reasons.  He was the son of a Philadelphia master hatter and learned his skills working with his father.   Although hatters were not well thought of in that time period, looked upon as lazy and unreliable, Stetson eventually proved that myth wrong.

During his journey west he demonstrated to his companions how he could create felt out of working fur and shaped it into a large brimmed hat.  Even though his friends made fun of his extreme design, Stetson liked the way it protected him from the elements, created a unique image and perhaps covered a bald spot.  The hat was later named, “The Boss of the Plains”.  Perhaps Hollywood’s Tom Mix carried on the daring fashion statement of the 10 gallon hat to woo audiences.

John B. Stetson changed the berated image of a hatter to become a successful, influential and respected business man.

In 1872 Montgomery Ward opened, offering store bought clothing to rural America.  At first only selling a wide brimmed hat called the “Men’s Panama Hat”; four years later they introduced the “Men’s Planter’s Hat”.  The rounded crown and smaller brim could be molded to adjust to the individual personality of the cowboy.  The smaller brim was also a better fit for the winds of the prairie.

In the 1920′s, millionaire E.R. Byer invested in hat maker Harry Rolnick.  His unique creations caught Byer’s eye and in 1927 Byer-Bolnick started their business in Dallas, TX.  Later they would create the Resistol hat line meaning resistant-all weather.

Now hats come in a wide range of styles and colors.  There is a style for everyone.  Some interesting ones say a lot about a person.

No matter what your style is, be comfortable and enjoy your cowboy experience.  Jackson Hole has a variety of outfitters that want you to be comfortable on your family vacation.  Look around and find the hat that says, “I’m having a great time here”.   And, if you forgot your hat for your Guest Ranch Vacation we have a variety of sizes at Goosewing Ranch to help protect every buckaroo!

Cowboy lore: never put your cowboy hat on your bed.  Also, don’t eat peanuts before a rodeo but that really doesn’t have anything to do with style, just thought it was interesting.

By: Janis Wright

 

The Cowboy Hat…

May 1st, 2012 by Amy

They come in all shapes, sizes, heights, and colors…Some faded, some misshaped, and others perfectly formed.  What is it that is so special about a cowboys/girls hat?  To completely understand the bond between the buckaroo and their signature piece, one must understand the uses of the cowboy hat.

Unlike many other styles of hats the cowboy hat is quite functional.  With its larger brim it makes a very useful sunshade for the face, neck, and shoulders.  This same large brim also protects you when it rains or snows and you can turn your hat into the wind to protect yourself from the blowing dust storm, or hide your eyes in a poker game in Jackson Hole.  A light straw hat will keep you cool in through the Wyoming summer and a heavy felt hat will keep you warm in the winter.  Not only are hats great for protection, but they also serve a useful purpose as a bucket (we have all heard of the 10 gallon hat), or storage area…Cowboys are known for keeping pictures, poems, cash and tooth picks in their hats.  Now if you have never had the pleasure of wearing a cowboy hat and experiencing the versatility then it is hard to explain why some cowboys get so attached…Breaking in a new hat is like starting a colt.  You’re gonna have your good days and your bad days, but after you each get dirty, and take a few spills together you will be working as a team for years to come; and a cowboy never forgets his first hat or colt.

Jackson Hole has a lot great hat shops, but you don’t have to get a custom hat to fit in at Goosewing Ranch.  A good hat should fit well, be comfortable, and serve the above purposes.  I want my hat to be able to stay put on my hand while I am riding a bucking, runaway horse in a windstorm.  But, the snug hat shouldn’t cause pain or discomfort; your hat should form to the shape of your head.  A general rule of mine is if I can bend over like I am picking a horse’s foot and my hat stays on then that’s a good start.  Hats come in all shapes…some are more round with a tall crown, while others are oval with a low crown.  Each region is known for a different shape of cowboy hat, all serving the same purposes but each adding its own flare and style.  If your hat isn’t a sure fit make sure you also purchase or construct a stampede string to go along.  The stampede string secures to your hat and then is tightened under your chin to keep your hat on your head whether you’re in a wild horse chase through the mountains or just horseback riding in some mild Wyoming wind.  Most western stores have a person on staff that can help you find the perfect hat; this person usually will be able to custom shape the hat to fit your head and your personal style.  Take your time shopping, remember you and your hat will make many memories together, from galloping through the Gros Ventre, being smashed to the ground from the winds off the Grand Tetons, to surviving  the family vacation into Yellowstone National Park.  Each adventure takes you one step closer to forming that bond between cowboy and cowboy hat…Where will yours take you?

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