I am always reminded in the summer when we get ready to do an event, how incredibly hot and uncomfortable it is to be dressed in traditional old west cowboy clothes.
One summer, a few years ago, we were invited to walk in a parade dressed as lawmen. To look really authentic, we wore black. Nice, sun absorbing, black. The layers started with a cotton shirt, buttoned to the top with a nice western tie. On top of that was a wool vest with a metal badge, wool pants, full length wool frock coat and large brim wool cowboy hat. That day, the temperature in this little town had pegged out at 102 degrees. 102, Hot, humid, miserable degrees. We walked for over 2 miles that day on asphalt that sent waves of heat up with each step. We had plastic water bottles along, typically not acceptable for anyone re-enacting, but essential so that we didn’t faint right on the spot. They say wool is cooling. At 102 degrees, the only thing that is cooling is a watering hole!
I was sick for two days afterwards, convinced that I had gotten heat stroke from the experience. My fellow Legends also reported several days of not feeling their best.
The only consistent comment we got from everyone that day was “you look hot” – and they didn’t mean awesome – they meant uncomfortable, and we were.
So next time you think about the old west cowboy, think sticky, sweaty and uncomfortable, and you probably have a pretty accurate idea of what it was like. That was the real old west cowboy.