Cowboy Hats True West Magazine
Historic Tombstone, Arizona, welcomes visitors from around the world who want to visit the O.K. Corral Gunfight Site, take a stagecoach ride and walk down the same streets as the Earps, Clantons, McLaurys, Doc Holliday, Josephine Marcus and Johnny Ringo.
— Courtesy Arizona Office of Tourism —

“Howdy, Tex!”

True West’s Bob Boze Bell has traveled the world wearing his  signature cowboy hat. From France to Thailand, Bob has sported his Triple-B crease with pencil-curl-brimmed custom hat. Soon after he returned from one of his adventures in Paris, France, he shared the story that he would be regularly greeted across plazas with the friendly shout-out of “Hey, Tex!”

Now, for a man who grew up in Kingman, Arizona, being called “Tex” could be considered at the minimum a slight, and at the most, a downright insult. But Bob knows full well that his cowboy hat is an American icon and internationally recognized a a symbol of America—maybe just behind Old Glory and Lady Liberty—and just ahead of rock ’n’ roll, baseball and Route 66.

To honor the makers and wearers of America’s iconic headgear, True West has chosen a dozen Western towns where the cowboy hat still rules. And who knows? Maybe when you are sporting your favorite Gus, Rancher or Montana Peak along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées someone will shout out “Hey, Tex,” and you’ll tip your hat, smile and wave—knowing full well they’ve given you and your hat the greatest compliment of all.

Author’s Note: This is by no means a complete list of all the great Western cowboy towns
where more residents sport cowboy hats than ballcaps or hipster beanies, but just some of the West’s most iconic cowboy communities where cowboy hats rule the day. If you would like your town featured or mentioned in next year’s column, send an email to Stuart Rosebrook at, and include a high resolution photo of your town and favorite local Western wear, tack, boot and hat store(s).

Cowboy Hats True West Magazine
Enjoy the Old West atmosphere of Tombstone by strolling down the boardwalks of “the town too tough to die” and visiting historic sites, restaurants and saloons, including Big Nose Kate’s.
— Courtesy Arizona Office of Tourism —

Tombstone, Arizona

In storied Cochise County—home to iconic and historic Tombstone, and legendary Western towns including Benson, Bisbee, Bowie, Douglas, Hereford and Willcox, once the cattle capital of the state and Rex Allen’s hometown—it is almost a crime not to wear a cowboy hat. To immerse yourself in the cowboy culture of Cochise County, book a room at Tombstone’s Landmark Lookout Lodge and spend a week exploring the county’s Old West historic towns, sites and monuments. One not to miss is the legendary O.K. Corral Historic Complex, including daily gunfight re-enactments, Tombstone’s Historama and the historic offices of the Tombstone Epitaph.

When in Tombstone This Summer, Don’t Miss: Tombstone Freedom Days featuring the 25-year Reunion of the Movie Tombstone, June 29-30, 2018, and Tombstone’s Fourth of July, July 4, 2018. More info @

Where to Stay: Landmark Lookout Lodge,, (520) 457-2223.

Where to Eat: Big Nose Kate’s, Try the Big Ass Burger!

In Arizona, Tack Up At:
Cave Creek’s and
Bisbee’s Optimo
Prescott’s and
Scottsdale’s and Tucson’s

Cowboy Hats True West Magazine
The award-winning West of the Pecos Rodeo (above), the World’s First Rodeo, will celebrate 135 years of Old West tradition on June 27-30, 2018. When in Pecos for rodeo weekend, don’t miss the chance to tour the city’s historic sites and Old West museums.
— Jerod Foster/Courtesy Red Chair, Inc. —

Pecos, Texas

In Texas, the official state hat is the cowboy hat. So, if you have any doubts about wearing your cowboy hat when you cross the state line, put those fears aside. One of the best places in the Lone Star State to relax in your best cowboy gear is the welcoming West Texas town of Pecos. It’s the home of the world’s first rodeo, West of the Pecos Rodeo, which has been held every summer since 1883. When visiting Pecos, don’t miss touring the West of the Pecos Museum, Judge Roy Bean Courthouse and Jail Replica and the Texas Railroad Museum and Depot, home to the Chamber of Commerce and Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame.

When in Pecos This Summer, Don’t Miss: West of the Pecos Rodeo, June 27-30, 2018. More info @ and

Where to Stay:
Best Western Plus Swiss Chalet Hotel & Suites,, (432) 447-9477.

Where to Eat:
Pody’s BBQ,;
you’re in Texas: order the beef brisket, cheese hominy, banana pudding and sweet tea!

In Texas, Tack Up At: 
Fort Davis’s
Fort Worth’s
San Antonio’s

Tucumcari, New Mexico

Before the Army came in 1863 to build Fort Bascom, the future townsite of Tucumcari was Comanche territory, part of the Plains’ tribe’s vast empire built on trade, war and the buffalo. A railroad arrived in 1898 south of what could be considered the original townsite, Liberty, and was first known as Six-Shooter-Siding for its rough-and-rowdy ways. In 1902, Six-Shooter-Siding, temporarily known as Douglas, was renamed Tucumcari, after the nearby mountains. Today, the railroad-ranching-Route 66 city is a crossroads of travelers going east and west on I-40, or north and south on U.S. 54. Tucumcari’s Old West past can be enjoyed at the Tucumcari Railroad Park, Tucumcari Historical Museum and at the Annual Logan Chuck Wagon Cook Off, held the third weekend in April and Tucumcari’s Annual Rawhide Days presented during the first weekend of May.

When in Tucumcari This Summer, Don’t Miss: The Quay County Fair, August 15-18, 2018. More info and

Where to Stay: Historic Route 66 Motel,, (575) 461-1212.

Where to Eat: Kix On 66, Hungry for breakfast, try the huevos rancheros with green chile sauce!

In New Mexico, Tack Up At:
Tucumcari’s and
Santa Fe’s and

Cowboy Hats True West Magazine
The first weekend of every May, the northeastern New Mexico city of Tucumcari hosts Rawhide Days, a three-day celebration of its Western ranching past, pioneer history and as the location of the original episodes of Clint Eastwood’s Rawhide television series.
— Courtesy Tucumcari CVB —

Laramie, Wyoming

The Albany County Seat, Laramie, Wyoming, was settled along the banks of the Laramie River for its steady source of water needed for the Union Pacific Railroad that was built in 1867. A Hell on Wheels railroad town, Laramie quickly needed law enforcement, and the territorial prison—for both federal and Wyoming prisoners—was constructed in 1872, a dual role it held until 1902. Today, Laramie is a perfect destination for fans of the Old West. Tours of Laramie and Albany County should include the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, Ivinson Mansion, Laramie Plains Museum, Laramie Historic Railroad Depot and the American Heritage Center.

When in Laramie This Summer, Don’t Miss: Laramie Jubilee Days, July 7-15, 2018 and Wyoming Statehood Day Celebration, July 10, 2018. More info @ and

Where to Stay: Vee Bar Guest Ranch,, (307) 745-7036.

Where to Eat: Prairie Rose Cafe,, (307) 745-8140.
Can you say, green chile breakfast burrito?!

In Wyoming Tack Up At:
Laramie’s Martindale’s Western Wear, 217 Grand Avenue, (307) 721-4100
Sheridan’s and Hat Creek Hatters, (307) 334-0900

Cowboy Hats True West Magazine
The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Days, July 11-14, 2018, has celebrated the Western heritage of Colorado Springs since 1937. Pikes Peak Range Riders, a nonprofit group that promotes and supports the rodeo, co-hosts the city’s annual Western Street Breakfast before the annual trailride.
— Courtesy —

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs started humbly as Colorado City in 1859, a supply camp for miners and settlers. After Gen. William Palmer founded Colorado Springs as a planned community/resort city in 1871, ranching was a major industry in the area, before gold was discovered on Pikes Peak in 1890. Today, the town honors its Western roots with the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy, one of the state’s premiere museums. When visiting, don’t miss a chance to trail ride through the Garden of the Gods Park, visit the Rock Ledge Historic Site, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, and stay at an area guest ranch.

When in Colorado Springs This Summer, Don’t Miss: The 78th Annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo & Parade, July 11-14, 2018. More info @ and

Where to Stay:
The Ranch at Emerald Valley,, (855) 634-7711

Where to Eat: Ted’s Montana Grill, Try the Bison Pot Roast!

In Colorado Tack Up At:
Colorado Springs’
Durango’s Elizabeth’s
Estes Park’s

Cowboy Hats True West Magazine
The cowboy hats come out every summer on the Boot Hill Museum’s Front Street in Dodge City, Kansas. Gunfight re-enactors thrill audiences through the summer every day at noon and 7 p.m., and, on the first Saturday of August, with the famous High Noon “Big” Gunfight with 50 entertainers.
— Courtesy Dodge City CVB —

Dodge City, Kansas

Across the West, few cities conjure the mystique of the West as well as Dodge City, Kansas. Built along the tracks of the Santa Fe Trail and the banks of the Arkansas River, Dodge City was a buffalo hide hunters’ camp in the shadow of nearby Fort Dodge before the railroad’s arrival in 1872. By the time the cattle drives and thirsty, free-spending cowboys came to town just off the Western Trail Texas in 1876, Dodge City was on its way to becoming a legend of the Wild West. Today, visitors to the “Queen of the Cow Towns” can immerse themselves in Dodge City’s Old West past at the Boot Hill Museum, gunfighter shows on Front Street, the Long Branch Saloon, the Gunfighters Wax Museum, Boot Hill Cemetery, Fort Dodge Museum, Trail of Fame and Wild West Heritage Buffalo & Longhorn Exhibit.

When in Dodge City This Summer, Don’t Miss: Dodge City Days,
July 26 – August, 5, 2018. More info
@ and

Where to Stay: Boot Hill Casino & Resort,, (877) 906-0777.

Where to Eat: Casey’s Cow Town Club, Order the Dodge City Strip, locally raised, grain-fed beef served just the way you like it!

In Kansas Tack Up At:
Dodge City’s and Out West (620) 225-9025
Kansas City’s
Long Island’s Running N Saddlery (620) 789-1227
Winfield’s Liermann’s Saddle & Boot Shop (620) 221-1498

Cowboy Hats True West Magazine
The unofficial capital of the Great Basin’s buckaroo country, Elko, Nevada, is home to the Silver State Stampede, founded in 1913 by acclaimed saddle, spur and bit maker G.S. Garcia. Don’t miss touring the Western Folklife Center and J.M. Capriola’s when in Elko for the rodeo.
— Courtesy TravelNevada —

Elko, Nevada

The unofficial Buckaroo Capital of the West, Elko is smack-dab in the center of the West’s Great Basin, a vast arid region of high desert, sky-island mountain ranges and giant cattle ranches managed by fiercely independent ranchers and their crews of buckaroos. Founded as a Central Pacific railroad town in 1868 astride the California Trail, Elko’s steady source of water has made it a crossroads for travelers traversing the Owyhee Desert for centuries. Immerse yourself in the history of the region and the buckaroo culture at the Western Folklife Center, Capriola’s Old West and Cowboy Arts Museum, Northeastern Nevada Museum, Sherman Station Visitor’s Center and California Trail Interpretive Center.

When in Elko This Summer, Don’t Miss: The Silver State Stampede,
July 13-15, 2018. More info @ and

Where to Stay: Red’s Ranch,, (775) 753-6281.

Where to Eat: JR’s Restaurant, Order the steak, the best in northeastern Nevada.

In Nevada Tack Up At:
Las Vegas’s
Virginia City’s Pioneer Emporium & Virginia City Hat Maker

Cowboy Hats True West Magazine
Since 1910, Pendleton, Oregon, has hosted The Round-Up, one of the West’s premier annual events. In addition to the rodeo, attendees enjoy Western events every day and night (above), including street dances to Western music, traditional Indian dance demonstrations and the ever-popular parade.
— Courtesy Pendleton CVB —

Pendleton, Oregon

World famous for the annual Pendleton Round-Up held the third weekend of every September, Pendleton has its roots as a frontier crossroads trading post. The city straddles the Umatilla River and has been an economic center for the ranching and farming communities, including the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, of northeastern Oregon. A city with a rich Western heritage, visitors should not miss an opportunity to tour the Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Hall of Fame, Pendleton Underground Tours, Pendleton Woolen Mills, Tamástslikt Cultural Institute and the Umatilla County Historical Society’ Heritage Station Museum.

When in Pendleton This Summer, Don’t Miss: The Pendleton Whisky Fest,
July 14-15, 2018, and Pendleton Round-Up, September 12-15, 2018. More info@ and

Where to Stay: Pendleton House Historic Inn,, (541) 276-8581.

Where to Eat: Hamley Steakhouse & Saloon, What’s for dinner? Beef!

In Oregon Tack Up At:
Pendleton’s, and

The Sheep Parade, with nearly 1,000 sheep being driven down Main Street, highlights the annual Cedar Livestock & Heritage Festival in Cedar City, Utah, October 26-29, 2018. The three day event honors the ranching and agricultural history of the region that began with Mormon pioneers in 1851.
— Courtesy Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau —

Cedar City, Utah

Mormon pioneers settled the Cedar City area in 1851 for access to iron and coal deposits, but soon Cedar City became primarily a farming and ranching community. In 1923 the railroad arrived and Cedar City became a gateway to Zion and Bryce national parks. Today, visitors to Cedar City can explore and learn about its Western heritage at Frontier Homestead State Park, the Historic Downtown District and Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum. The city also is known for rodeo and the arts, with the Cedar City PRCA Championship every June and the world-class Utah Shakespeare Festival,
June 28-October 13, 2018. Cedar City’s local national parks, monuments and forests make it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and horseback riding. 

When in Cedar City This Summer, Don’t Miss: Cedar City Independence Day Parade and Fireworks, July 4, 2018; Iron County Fair, August 30-September 3, 2018. More info @ and

Where to Stay: Abbey Inn and Suites,, (800) 325-5411.

Where to Eat: Rusty’s Ranch House, Try the Cowboy Burger, of course!

In Utah Tack Up At:
Cedar City’s and
Park City’s and Parowan’s
Spanish Fork’s
Vernal’s and
West Valley’s

Cowboy Hats True West Magazine
Summer rodeos, fairs and music festivals bring out the crowds to Livingston, Montana, including the Livingston Hoot, which in 2016 featured headliner Rodney Crowell. While the Hoot will be on hiatus in Livingston for street construction in 2018, the historic 1883 Livingston Bar & Grill at 130 N. Main Street reopened in early June.
— Courtesy Livingston CVB —

Livingston, Montana

Originally known as Benson’s Landing, a small trading post on the Yellowstone River, Livingston’s origins as a city are tied to the construction of the Northern Pacific Railway, which arrived in the area in July 1882. The new town quickly became an important rail hub for the company, and when a NPR spur line was built to Yellowstone, Livingston became well known as the “Gateway to Yellowstone Park.” Ranching, agriculture, tourism and outdoor recreation, including world-class hunting and fly-fishing, have been cornerstones of Livingston’s economy for many decades, and Montana’s Western heritage is imbued in all the Old West activities to be enjoyed in Livingston throughout the year. Don’t miss Livingston’s downtown district where you can hang your hat at the historic Murray Hotel, enjoy a good meal at the Livingston Bar & Grille, The Mint Bar and Grille and The Stockman.

When in Livingston This Summer,
Don’t Miss:
Livingston Roundup & Rodeo, July 2-4, 2018; Park County Fair, July 25-28, 2018; and Montana Old-Time Fiddler’s Picnic, August 3-5, 2018. More info @,, and

Where to Stay: The Murray Hotel,, (406) 222-1350.

Where to Eat: The Stockman, Experience the hand-cut Stockman Rib Eye, rare-to-medium rare, of course! (Bar & Grill reopens in early June.)

In Montana Tack Up At:
Livingston’s and Bob’s Outdoor 114 N. Main Street, (406) 222-1954
Billings’s, and
Great Falls’,
Twin Bridges’

Cowboy Hats True West Magazine
The 97th Annual Oregon Trail Days in Gering, Nebraska, will be held July 12-15, 2018. The three-day festival includes two parades, concerts, chili and bbq cook-offs and street dances (right) while celebrating the Western pioneer heritage of the Gering/Scottsbluff region of the North Platte River Valley.
— Courtesy Nebraska Tourism —

Scottsbluff/Gering, Nebraska

From time immemorial, travelers have followed the North Platte River through the Scottsbluff/Gering area as they traversed the region and continent. Nearby Scotts Bluff National Monument preserves and protects the geologic beacon that harkened fresh water and grass to Native peoples, trappers, traders, emigrants and freighters on the Overland Trail. Following the Civil War, the Scottsbluff/Gering area remained a critical stop on the national trail, but with the conclusion of the Indian Wars, cattle ranchers who drove herds north through western Nebraska, returned to the Sand Hills to establish major ranches, while homesteaders settled the Great Plains and developed farms along the North Platte River Valley. Today, the Scottsbluff/Gering community treasures its Old West heritage and visitors should allow themselves at least a long weekend to enjoy and explore all the area has to offer including the Scotts Bluff National Monument, Legacy of the Plains Museum, Chimney Rock National Historic Site and North Platte Valley Museum.

When in Scottbluff/Gering This Summer, Don’t Miss: Oregon Trail Days,
July 12-18, 2018. More info @ and

Where to Stay: Barn Anew B&B,, (308) 632-8647.

Where to Eat: Platte Valley Creamery, 1005 E Overland, Scottsbluff, NE (308) 632-4225. This just may be the best ice cream in all of Nebraska!

In Nebraska Tack Up At:
Arthur’s Marshall Custom Hats
(308) 764-2420
Platte Valley’s
(Young’s Western Wearhouse)

Cowboy Hats True West Magazine
Since 1969, Bishop, California, has celebrated Mule Days every Memorial Day Weekend. The three-day Western event in the Owen Valley honors the Old West traditions and history of the Eastern Sierra, as well as the beginning of mule-packing season into the Sierra Nevada.
— Courtesy Bishop CVB —

Bishop, California

At the top of California’s Owens Valley north of Lone Pine and south of Mammoth Lakes, Bishop is in the heart of California’s historic Eastern Sierra Nevada cattle country. Founded in 1862, a year after pioneer rancher Samuel Bishop drove his herd of cattle into the area to help feed miners in Aurora, Bishop has been a thriving center of livestock, cowboy and mining culture ever since. Today, Bishop celebrates its Western heritage throughout the year, but is best-known worldwide for its Mule Days Celebration held every Memorial Day Weekend.

When in Bishop This Summer, Don’t Miss: The Jr. Livestock Show and Auction, July 11-14, and the Tri-County Fair, August 30 to September 2. More info@ and

Where to Stay: Creekside Inn,, (760) 872-3044.

Where to Eat: Mahogany Smoked Meats, Order the Rodeo double-decker sandwich and a bag of elk jerky to go!

In California, Tack Up At:
Red Bluff’s Richmond’s
Santa Barbara’s

Cowboy Up!

Do you have a bucket list to attend the greatest cowboy events held across the West
every summer? Then get out your calendar, pull on your jeans, put on your best cowboy hat, boots, belt and buckle, and book a trip to one of these great summer Western
events that honor and celebrate the American cowboy.

Ponca City, OK Jun 7-8: 59th Annual 101 Wild West Rodeo,

Bickleton, WA Jun 8-10: 108th Annual
Alder Creek Pioneer Picnic & Rodeo,

Woodward, OK Jun 8-9: Oklahoma Championship Chuck Wagon Cook Off,

Stevensville, MT Jun 22-23: Western Heritage Days,

Prescott, AZ Jun 28-Jul 4: 131st Frontier Days, Worlds Oldest Rodeo & Parade,

Grangeville, ID Jul 4-6: 107th Annual Grangeville Border Days,

Calgary, Alberta, CAN Jul 6-15: Calgary Stampede,

Salinas, CA Jul 19-22: 108th Annual California Rodeo Salina,

Minot, ND Jul 20-28: North Dakota State Fair,

Cheyenne, WY Jul 20-29: 122nd Annual Cheyenne Frontier Days,

Deadwood, SD Jul 24-28: 96th Annual Days of ’76,

Dubois, WY Jul 27-28: National Day of the Cowboy Celebration & Parade,

Duncan, OKJul 28: The Chisholm Trail Western Heritage Center’s National Day of the Cowboy (Free admission),

Abilene, KSAug 1-4: Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo,

Crow Agency, MTAug 15-20: 100th Annual Crow Celebration Powwow & Rodeo,

Payson, AZAug 15-17: 135th Annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo,

Westcliffe, COAug 17-19: Custer County Cowboy Gathering,

Clinton, ARAug 25-Sep 2: National Championship Chuckwagon Race,

Bandera, TXJul 28: National Day of the American Cowboy,

Dayton, IAAug 31-Sep 3: 81st Annual Dayton Rodeo,

Lubbock, TXSep 7-9: The National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration,

Stuart Rosebrook’s favorite cowboy hat is a well-worn black Stetson Gus he bought at Saba’s Western Wear in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1987.

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