Even though Texas and the west are more famous for having a cowboy culture, the hats are very much in style in Missouri, too. Did you know there's an honor system about do's and don'ts of how and when you wear cowboy hats? Best to know the rules first before you start tossing one on your head.

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I have a colleague in Texas that recently addressed this topic and I feel like it's time for a Missouri one as well. I will admit that while I think cowboy hats are awesome, I have never been successful donning one myself without looking like a wanna-be. That's why I'm relying on several cowboy hat manufacturers for some guidelines. American Hat Makers and Bernard Hats were just a couple.

When do you take your cowboy hat off?

This is a very important one. Fail to follow these rules and you're sure to offend someone if not everyone.

  • When you enter a building
  • When the National Anthem is played
  • When you're praying
  • When you're sitting down for a meal (unless you're eating in the wild)
  • While at a funeral

When do you tip your cowboy hat?

The code of the Old West says that you tip your hat when you're meeting someone else for the first time. It's also tradition to tip your hat when saying hello to a lady. Fellow cowboys don't tip to another.

What kind of cowboy hats do you wear and when?

In general, felt hats are approved during the cold weather months. During the summer, feel free to switch to a straw version for the coolness. Felt cowboy hat season begins after Labor Day until the next Memorial Day.

How do you hold your cowboy hat when you take it off?

One hat maker says "grasp it by the crown, not the brim".

There's one final tip (hat pun intended) and that is this.

Never ever touch another cowboy's hat. You're treading on sacred territory and being disrespectful if you do.

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