Sierra Wave Media

Eastern Sierra News for June 18, 2024






A Brand that Symbolizes the America Cowboy

If there is one piece of Western wear that has become the ultimate symbol of the American Cowboy, it’s the cowboy hat. Like all Western wear, hats were made to be as tough as the trail and started off as accessories purchased based purely on function rather than fashion. A hat provided shade, protection from the elements, and warmth for the wearer, but could also be used to fan a fire, as a vessel for drinking water, or waved from horseback to catch the attention of a fellow rider in the distance.

When the Wild West made it to the silver screen, the cowboy uniform became solidified in American cultural memory. Costume designers in Hollywood began putting their own spins on the classic hat, and movie stars popularized styles such as the 10-gallon hat, which became a quintessential piece of cowboy wardrobe. (Interestingly, 10-gallon does not refer to the amount of liquid the hat can hold; rather, the name was adopted from the Spanish word “galón”, which referred to braided bands that wrapped around the hat.)

Classic Westerns films like “High Noon” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” popularized these cowboy hat fashions, with stars like John Wayne inspiring the masses to rush out and buy their own Stetsons. Hats became important symbols in these films, with the hero often wearing a white hat while he faces off against a villain wearing a black hat.

The cowboy hat eventually made a full circle, with Wild West films influencing real-life cowboy uniforms. Soon, everyone from real cattle ranchers to celebrities were donning their own take on the hat.

In the years since its introduction, the cowboy hat has become synonymous with the rugged spirit of the American West — worn by many who embody (or wish to embody) that persona. Nearly every country music star has donned the iconic headpiece, and even several presidents were well known for covering their heads with a Stetson. In fact, Lyndon B Johnson was so famous for wearing Stetson’s Open Road hat that it’s still often referred to as the LBJ hat.

In 2015, Texas, the state perhaps most associated with cowboy culture, designated the cowboy hat its official state hat, with the legislature saying: “The cowboy hat symbolizes both the state’s iconic western culture and the uniqueness of its residents, and it is indeed appropriate that this stylish and dignified apparel receive special legislative recognition.”

These days, you don’t need to run a ranch to wear a cowboy hat, and you’ll find the perfect one to meet your personality available from numerous manufacturers. And YES, Stetson is still in business, manufacturing hats in America since 1865.

Join with us as we learn about

The History of the Cowboy Hat

& Folklore, Superstitions, and Etiquette

Watch a “Behind the Scenes” video

on the Making of a Cowboy Hat

and enjoy a personal experience as

Roy shows Dusty how to Shape his hat.


From the Book

Cowboys and Hatters: Bond Street,

Sagebrush, and the Silver Screen

The author, Debbie Henderson, interviews Mel Marion, “Hatter to Hollywood, who custom blocked Stetson for some of Hollywood’s biggest Cowboy Stars including Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott, and even the “ Rat Pack,” – Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra and many, many more & James Nottage, at the time, the founding Chief Curator at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles. READ INTERVIEW HERE


A Very Special Bio, on the “Hollywood Hatter” himself – Mel Marion – Click Here


The Full Length Feature Theatrical Movie


Presented FREE

The Hat that Won the West And the World

John B. Stetson’s revelation and subsequent creation of the cowboy hat during the post-civil war American West inspires one cowboy to embark through the ensuing century and on to uncover the unique American invention that lives on to hold a place in modern culture. Is the cowboy hat currently as valid and iconic today as it was in the late nineteenth century? Are those who were once alienated by it’s symbolism now able to openly embrace the unique American empowerment? From Buffalo Bill Cody and Thomas Edison’s collaboration beginning the Western as a film genre, to the art of master custom hatters outfitting presidents in the twentieth century and beyond, the Cowboy Hat movie stops at each bullet point along the cowboy hat timeline.



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exhibit a wide and diverse variety of original art, artifacts and memorabilia that reflect and document the history and heritage

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the public and for successive generations.

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About the Museum of Western Film History
Opened in 2006 in California’s Eastern Sierra town of Lone Pine, the Museum is America’s premier archive of film and culture of the West, and features memorabilia from hundreds of movies, television shows and commercials filmed in the nearby Alabama Hills and Death Valley. The Museum hosts the annual Lone Pine Film Festival every October, the Concert in the Rocks every June, and numerous screenings and special events throughout the year. Become a member!