Tag Archives: Denver

The Cowboy Hat

Cowboys with different hats

Cowboys with different hats

Cowboys and their hats

Cowboys and their hats

On the way home from Denver, I stopped at Cowboy Up Hatters to choose my newest addition to my corral of hats. Choosing a cowboy hat, especially an old west version is never easy. Today’s hats are mostly mass-produced, and almost always straw. You go to a country music festival and it’s a sea of people who look alike. That’s not true with the old west hats, most of them develop personality of their own.

John B. Stetson began the cowboy hat craze with a hat called the “Boss of the plains”. It came in one style, and as the cowboys used it, the hat developed a bunch of dents, curls on the brim and such and became the creased hat that many of us see today (although they were fur felt not straw). Hats were truly shaped by the individual as they wore them.

When you choose a cowboy hat it takes time to fit one to your head. The one thing I have learned if you are going to have a custom hat made, trust the hat maker. They know what hat shaped will look good on your specific face and they’ll tell you the truth of whether you look good or you look bad. If you can’t justify a handmade hat, take a person with you whose opinion you trust. Especially the ones who will always be straight with you.

I don’t take my wife when I shop for a new hat for four reasons:

1. She will tell me I look good no matter what I put on
2. She’ll tell me we can’t afford it, no matter the price.
3. She’ll tell me I have enough hats already.
4. She’ll tell me to get rid of a hat before I get a new one.

So, I take my friend Tom and he says “Nope, too big a brim”, “Nope, wrong color”, “Nope, looks too much like mine”, etc. He is my truth teller. He has had me purchase hats I would have never bought on my own. I own two hats he recommended that I am convinced When I wear I look like a college football fan. You know the ones – the ten gallon college football foam hat.

In spite of my own insecurities, each time I wear one I get a compliment or two. So, trust your truth teller, they know.

Happy hat buying!

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The Great Denver Blizzard Adventure!

Like the Buckhorn, animal mounts including a polar bear, Elephant and Giraffe!

Like the Buckhorn, animal mounts including a polar bear, Elephant and Giraffe!

Best darn hat geek in the world

Best darn hat geek in the world

The Buffalo Bill Birthday bash was a success, with Tom securing 2nd place as the national Buffalo Bill and me retaining my first place position as Theodore Roosevelt. A Little extra cash now in our pockets, we were preparing to go the Lookout Mountain, the burial-place of Buffalo Bill and the final day of public appearances before we started the long drive home.

Our favorite Waitress !

Our favorite Waitress !

Buffalo Bill woke up before I did and all I heard was “Oh oh”

Years of experience has taught me that those two words together are never good, and this time it was no exception.  Over night the town of Golden was blanketed with 8 inches of snow, and more was on its way.  ” I think we should start heading back”. The great scout had spoken and I knew he was right.  We finished our breakfast at Pansy’s Parlor (We stay in the two bed Buffalo Bill room) said goodbye to John and Judy our wonderful hosts and start down the hill towards Denver.  The little car fights snow drifts and slippery hills to make it to the highway and we slowly crawl out-of-town at 20 MPH.  The cars going the opposite way – uphill – are at a dead stop on the freeway, unable to climb the grade. “At 40 MPH , we can make 400 miles in 10 hours” Bill States.

I was fortunate to have won a custom-made hat as part of my prizes, and we were off to see the Hat Lady. Last year, Tom won and I have coveted his hat since I first laid eyes on it. All natural beaver without added color and custom formed to his head. It is flawless. Now, I would have a chance to have a hat made as well. We snuck the back way to the shop, (almost getting broadsided by a car that slid through a red light) and made our way in. Coleen the hat maker is awesome and she knows hats. I decided I wanted to recreate Roosevelt’s hat seen in the photos of him with John Muir, and she went to work, measuring, adjusting, telling me that the hat was pretty unique and that she might be off 1/4 of an inch. That’s perfection, when your hat lady thinks that everyone will notice 1/4 inch! We hug goodbye and shovel out the car.

Back into the blizzard, we start to call home for computer modeling of our intended track. “Watch out at….blah, blah, blah.”. We will see weather almost the entire way. We stop along the way for gas and people just stare at us, unbelieving anyone would be so stupid as to drive. We agree, but really want to get home.

Within a few hours the weather was lightened and we are able to stop for dinner in Paxton, Nebraska and see Sam, our favorite waitress, at Ole’s Cafe. Ole’s is a lot like the Buckhorn Exchange (see previous post), only it’s liquor license number 1 in Nebraska. Sam filled us in on whats happened since last year “not much, except my grandson blew up his car with a cell phone”

“What?????”

I always thought is was a rumor that a cell phone could ignite gas fumes. Nope folks, its true. Thankfully just a small burn but a totalled car! No more cell phone answering when near gas for this guy.

After dinner, Bill and I decide that we have had enough adventure, and poin the stagecoach towards home. Driving through the night, we reach the promise land at 3:30 am and say “Adios Partner”.

The Buckhorn

The Buckhorn Exchange, Denver Colorado

The Buckhorn Exchange, Denver Colorado

In the city of Denver sits a saloon built in 1893.  It wasn’t the first bar in Colorado but it does hold the distinction of having liquor license number 1, and has continuously operated since it opened.  What’s more significant for us is that both Buffalo Bill and Theodore Roosevelt frequented the place.

Because of its history, (and awesome food) we always stop by for a drink or dinner when we come to Denver and always dress old west. So many tourists come to the Buckhorn, that we are having our photos taken with people constantly, and yesterday was no exception. A lovely lady with a great southern accent asked if she could have her picture taken with us. In talking, we learned she was an opera singer turned lawyer. I think one of the greatest joys of doing what we do is meeting such interesting people. People interested in history (and theater) are a diverse bunch, and it’s a glue that connects us all together in a way that is fun and peace-loving. No political agenda, no religious bias. Just interest in the past.

Buffalo Bill at the Buckhorn

Buffalo Bill at the Buckhorn