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Asking Cowboys to Wear Helmets: Not as Easy as it Sounds

The first weekend in May, the Troxel crew headed up to Norco, CA for the filming of RFD-TV's Best of America by Horseback Grand Tour 2011. Troxel doesn't often sponsor events, but we jumped at this opportunity for two reasons:
1.) Norco was the first city in California to pass a helmet law in 2008, requiring all riders under 18 to wear certified helmet every time they ride a horse, and
2.) "Horsetown USA," a city with horse trails instead of sidewalks, is true cowboy country. Horses walk up Sixth Street regularly, through the fast-food drive-thrus and exist in harmony with the "horseless carriages" that are still present in this equine utopia.
We thought this would be a great way to thank the City of Norco for their commitment to helmets and show the rest of the cowboys who live there what Troxel has to offer. Before riders embarked on the first day of their trail riding adventure, our marketing team- Dustin and Karisa, stood up in front of a sea of cowboy hats at the rider safety meeting and asked them to take off their cowboy hats--not for the national anthem, but for the whole ride.  We announced that we brought a truck full of our most popular trail helmets, and the first 20 riders that come over to our booth and traded their cowboy hat in for a helmet get to keep the helmet for free!  
We explained that we understand their reluctance to wear helmets in a culture that cherishes the tradition of wearing a cowboy hat. We went on to explain that we also open letters every single day from riders thanking Troxel for saving their lives or the life of someone they knew, but we also receive letters that will just break your heart right in half, the ones from those wishing their loved ones had worn a helmet. Every single testimonial and letter confirms our passionate stance about raising helmet awareness.
We then held our breath until riders started approvingly nodding their heads and clapping.  They didn't just clap-more than 20 riders came over to the Troxel booth and tried on helmets, many of them for the very first time. We even got the Mayor Berwin Hanna to wear a helmet!
Troxel's Vice President Dustin Toucton, fitting a rider in a new helmet.
Trainer Ray Ariss of Starbright Riding Academy in Norco  traded his hat.  "This is the first time I've worn a helmet in 52 years", he said. "It feels a lot better than I thought, I really like the helmet and I'm going to try to make an example of it. I've got 6 kids and a wife who all wear helmets,  but I have never had one for me." Watch the video below:

Riders were surprised to hear Troxel was not only the first to develop an ASTM approved equestrian helmet, we are also the first company design certified helmets for western riders.
We were honored not only to sponsor the trail ride, but more importantly to reach out to the community and help more riders to wear helmets.  
The people of Norco were incredibly kind, welcoming, and open to the idea of change.
To see more photos of the events click HERE
Read more about the event from THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE: Equestrian TV Host Calls Norco the Real Deal
How to do you feel about Western riders trading in their hats for helmets? Please comment below!


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