Western Show Hats

Hello there! I am in the market for a western show hat for 4-h shows. I’m currently using a super cheap one that is insanely uncomfortable. I have absolutely NO idea about anything regarding these hats, so I could use your help!

My budget is about 40-50 dollars. I know it’s not much.

I found a Bullhide Justin Moore Collection 6X Wool Felt for $58.00 which seems like a good deal. Does anyone know if that is a good hat?

Also, any suggestions for brand, or type? What is the difference between wool and felt, and which is best for showing? Does head shape matter? Thoughts on styles and hatbands? Thanks!

It is honestly very difficult to tell the difference between an expensive hat and a cheaper one unless you are very close (much closer than the judge will be).

The key to any hat is getting it properly shaped. As far as I know, the big taco is still the style. Spend the money to have it shaped, and invest in one of those sponges so you can brush off any dust or dirt. Mine goes right back in the box as soon as I’m out of the ring to keep sweat and dirt to a minimum, and to help it hold its shape.

I have a resistol straw hat that was $85 on clearance, and a Schneider’s hat that was around $60 on sale. I had both of them shaped and they both look great. I only use them for showing halter though. I’m still a helmet-every-ride girl.

I did not know about getting hats shaped when I first started, but luckily my friend who does all the big shows helped me out. He has a $1400 hat and yes, it is a lot nicer than the one I got from sstack.com, but the thing that sets people apart at local shows is having a poorly shaped hat.

If you are looking for a wool hat, personally I would still consider that a cheap hat. 6X is definately toward the lower end of things.

Can you wait longer and save up some more money?

I have two hats. Both were custom made for me when I was a rodeo queen. Measured my head, head shaped, custom fitted, the whole works. They were my sponsors so I didn’t have to pay anything, but retail of each hat is about $500. I can’t quite recall but I think my hats were 20X beaver pelt (I’m not good on the technical term … and it’s been 10 years!)

They’re nice hats and I know I will have them for a lifetime.

I agree that one of the most important things in the show ring is having the hat properly shaped. The “style” is going to depend on what event you are doing, to some degree. Of course, if you are doing 4H, you are probably going to be doing a variety of events. (However, I thought for 4H, you are required to wear a HELMET? At least that’s how it is in my state.)

In the grand scheme of things, 6X is probably fine for 4H purposes. But again, have it shaped correctly!

Second the saving up a bit for a better hat.

Hats in your current price range are likely to be made of wool felt. It doesn’t felt together very tight so the hats don’t hold their shape well or for long. So no matter how often you get it shaped, and no matter how careful you are with it, a wool felt hat is likely to disappoint.

For a bit more money, you may get a hat with a higher percentage of non-wool fiber in it (hare usually, or beaver in more expensive hats) that makes a smoother, tighter felt and then will retain its shape after steaming.

Here’s a primer on show hats that you might find helpful:


Because I only show in 4-H I’m going to stick to about $50.00 because I know I don’t need anything super expensive. I just want something that looks nice and is comfortable. Thanks for your help!

Th![](s is the hat, does it look like a good style?


shaping and keeping a good shape on a wool hat is hard, wool can shrink when left in a hot car and if the shape warps you will have a hard time getting the shape back, stick to a straw hat with that budget and get a better quality hat than a wool

Hat looks good in the photo, current/appropriate style.

Should do the trick, just take care of it and you should be ok!

RE: 4-H and safety helmets- I believe this is a state by state, and sometimes even county by county issue, with no national governing rules at this time. Always check first with wherever you plan to show about their particular rules.

Good luck/have fun!

My show hat was in that price range and has served me well. I show in halter and showmanship and I don’t think anyone really noticed it was the budget version. In fact, I hate to trade up at this point as it’s always been my lucky hat!
Have fun at the shows!

Th![](s is the hat, does it look like a good style?


No matter what you buy, still take it to someone to get it shaped.

Then do NOT leave it in the hot car! (or truck) Or let it get wet.

I’ve been showing in a $60 Bailey black felt for years (like going on 13). It doesn’t bother me to use hairspray on it to keep it in place or for it to live in a hat can. I get it professionally cleaned and shaped when needed.

I have a nicer hat that I keep for out of the show pen.

I always use some variation of Twister hats, they are on the lower end price wise, but look nice enough to show in.

If you want something a bit nicer there is Hobby Horse https://hobbyhorseinc.com/rider-apparel/hats?p=2

Bailey makes a nice 4x hat that is a good intro hat

For showmanship or similar in-hand classes, I think you can still wear a regular hat.