Get Updates



HATS OFF? The when, where, and why.

Cowboy Hat Etiquette
 by J.B. Blocker
  After a long talk with Sheriff Tom Maddox of Sabine County, Texas and several other Texas Sheriffs we felt that the etiquette concerning the the Cowboy's hat needed to be clarified. Tom's grandpa gave him his first boots and hat at age 3, and he's been wearing them ever since! Thanks for additional input from Sheriffs Bob Holder of Comal County, Dan Law of Caldwell County, Don Sowell of Grimes County, Randy Brown of Medina County, and Keith Gary and the boys of Grayson County.
Grayson County Sheriff Keith Gary and his staff

  The rules aren’t complicated. Heck, I’d just suggest the use of common sense. Of course, there are plenty of folks lacking in that area. They need some guidance. 

  Here are some traditional rules for wearing a cowboy hat.

Removal Rules:         Hat hair is never an acceptable excuse to not show respect!
  •     Any hat should be removed during a prayer or when the national anthem of any country is played. Hold your hat in your right hand, over your heart. This also applies to women, unless their hat is held on with hat pins. 
  •     Always remove your hat when being introduced to a lady.
  •     Always remove your hat in a Sanctuary, a court room, or when you enter a private room or office. (Think of it as being allowed in to someone’s private sanctuary.) It is generally considered polite to remove it in a private home, unless other people are wearing their hats.
  •     It is proper to leave your hat on in commercial and public buildings.
  •     Wearing a cowboy hat to a public theatre or movie is fine but it should be removed if it blocks anyone's view of the entertainment. 
Tipping Rules:         Courtesy cast a long shadow and is never out of place.
  • ·             Cowboys tip their hats to ladies when they are outdoors.
  • ·             Men never tipped their hats to other men in the Old West. It was akin to calling them a woman. A nod was a common greeting when not shaking hands.
  •                Brim Up Method: Normally done by grasping the front of the brim with the thumb and two finger and raising the brim slightly while giving an acknowledging nod.
  •               Tilt Forward Method: Grasp the front top of the crown, lift slightly, and tilt the brim forward as you politely nod.
Handling Rules:       Never, ever handle another persons hat with or without permission unless it is to catch a runaway from a gust of wind.
  •    If you do handle someone else's hat do not pick it up by the brim! That is only for tipping. You don't want to be the one who puts a bend in someones brim! Instead, grasp gently on the creased crown with one hand and the inside of the of the crown with the other.
  •    Never set a cowboy hat down flat on it's brim. Either hang it or set it it upside down.
  •    Never remove the hat off of the wearers head without permission which you will never get. Fights have been started because of that considered discourtesy.

'jelly beans'
by jb blocker

i always wear a hat

  i often
  have ideas
                                              that are
much bigger than my brain.
                                           who knows
                                             if my hat
                                           any of them
   from escaping .
                         i just know that plenty stay inside.
                                        i can feel them.
                                      bouncing around.
                           multi- colored, multi-flavored
                                           jelly beans
 want'n out of their box.
                           look'n for a  doorway to reality.
                                          if i didn’t
                                          wear a hat,
                              i’d be scratching my head
                                        all the time.

- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant/historian/biographer.


  1. Thank you for posting the best article/tips I've ever seen written about cowboy hat etiquette. I believe the same principles apply to ball caps too.

    Kindest regards,

    Tiffany Nielsen
    Your Favorite Etiquette Lady

  2. is it proper to wear a hat in the office while you are working?

  3. if others wear baseball caps or other head dressing then it is surely acceptable. The most chivarous way is to announce "IS anyone offended by my wearing my hat and covering my hat hair?" You will get acceptance and attention for displaying manners and will probably get big support!