Stetson Hat

(Frank) And we’re back. We’re so glad you can join us at our party this morning. (Deb) We’ve just got the giggles today. It’s just a fun day here in Topeka. (Frank) Yea. It is. (Deb) Hope it is around the rest of the state. So, there’s all kinds of anniversaries going on, a hundred years of this, a hundred fifty years of that. You know, we just got out of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, or we’re just getting out of it this year. So, 150 years of Stetson. (Frank) Yea. This is not a Stetson. (Deb) I was just gonna ask. Yea. I didn’t think so. But all the cowboys I know wear Stetsons. I did an informal poll, my friend Cowboy Culbertson up in Easton of course wears a Stetson. And I asked my buddy Frank Goodrich and Jim Gray and just all my buddies wear Stetsons. So, if it was good enough for John Wayne, by golly, it’s good enough for everybody else. (Frank) Ok, but, I know you’re gonna do the story on Stetson hats, but you also…we need to do a story on the fact that cowboy boots essentially I mean, there’s a little bit of a dispute, but they were really invented and made in Olathe. OK, and so this really is a cowboy state. (Deb) It absolutely is. (Frank) Because you’ve got your Stetson hats, you’ve got your cowboy boots, because they had them specially made because you know with the pointed toe and all that and that’s because that way they could fit ’em into the stirrups and their feet wouldn’t slip out and all that. So, anyway we’ll do a story on boots too. (Deb) We will. And you know, I was just thinking the other day when I was working on this story about the Stetson hats, you know, one of the sure signs that the Legislature is in session in Topeka, is the cowboy hats crossing the street. Have you noticed that? Because Topeka is not a town of cowboy hats. You know, you go to Wichita, you go to Hays, a lot of towns in Kansas, Dodge City of course. You know, they’re cowboy hats all the time. But Topeka, not so much. Until the Legislature is in session and then you get all the cowboys coming in from all around the state. So, have you noticed that? (Frank) I have noticed that. So, anyway, oh my. (Deb) Alright, celebrate 150 years of Stetson. We were at the Kansas Sampler Festival where Jim Gray and Dennis Katzenmeier were manning a booth for the National Drovers Hall of Fame. Jim had set up a saddle on a frame just to give folks a feel for it. My grandson, Devyn, climbed on again and again, and asked Jim if he might borrow his hat so he could be a real cowboy. As generous as Jim is, he said no. “You just don’t loan yer hat.” Devyn was bummed, to say the least, that he had not brought his own cowboy hat from home, and we spent the rest of the day searching for a hat. Lots of ranchers do the same, putting in a considerable amount of time looking for the just right hat, one that fits, keeps out the sun and the rain, and just feels right. For lots of folks, that hat is very often a Stetson, the iconic hat that is marking its 150th anniversary. In 1865, with $100, John B. Stetson rented a small room, bought the tools he needed, bought $10 worth of fur and the John B. Stetson Hat Company was born. A year later the “Hat of the West” or the now famous “Boss of the Plains” hat was born and the name Stetson was on its way to becoming the mark of quality, durability, innovation and beauty. John B. Stetson experienced trying times in his life but after it all he relied on the one thing he did exceptionally well, making hats. He was trained by his father, a master hatter, and applied his skills and knowledge to a trade that, at the time was not held in high regard. Back then, a hatter was seen as unreliable, lazy, or aloof, only looking to make his money and go have fun. John B. Stetson changed all that and built one of America’s most well known and successful businesses. The longevity and history of the Stetson Company is based on innovation and quality. John B. Stetson led the hat industry his entire career by designing new hat styles for fashion and function. Stetson has become the standard in hats, the essence of the spirit of the West and an icon of everyday American lifestyle. Because of its authentic American heritage, Stetson remains as a part of history and for the same reason will continue into the future. Jim said his chocolate, Will James style hat is a Stetson. Bill Cody wore a Stetson, as did his Little Sure Shot, Annie Oakley. Will Rogers and John Wayne wore Stetsons. You just can’t get more American than that!

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