Expert talks picking right cowboy hat, tips for hat etiquette

SAN ANTONIO – If you think a charley horse is only a cramp in your leg, then you probably haven't been cowboy hat shopping lately.

Charley One Horse is one of the hottest brands at the rodeo today. The choices can be overwhelming, unless you go to the right expert.

Sugar Reim, who considers cowboy hats her crowning achievement, has been selling them for her entire life.

"Don't go out into the sun in the summertime without your straw on, because you can put all that suntan stuff on if you want to, but it's just going to melt off your face in a couple hours," Reim said. "So go get yourself a hat."

But at other rodeos, another hat tops the list.

"One of the most prevalent (brands) for the younger people, which is called the scoop shovel," Reim said. "Rodeo people, team ropers and young people like the Wide Square."

Reim said there's no shame in going for a hip style or even the traditional three-finger pinch.

"You would have seen this one in the PRCA back in the day on a bigger crown and a bigger brim, but when you cut it down to 3 1/2, it's more of a fashion look than a western," Reim said.

The shape, style and color are all steamed to perfection. Experts say every hat says something about the person wearing it.

Cowboy hat etiquette says to wear a straw hat between Easter and Labor Day and felt hats the rest of the year. In South Texas it's more lenient because the temperature goes over 80 degrees. Also, etiquette says to never ask to borrow a cowboy hat.

About the Author:

Ursula Pari has been a staple of television news in Texas at KSAT 12 News since 1996 and a veteran of broadcast journalism for more than 30 years.