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Helmets versus Cowboy Hats and Western Hat Helmets | Which is Right For You?

At Troxel, we appreciate the tradition of wearing a cowboy hat but we also understand the ramifications of not having a certified helmet on when an accident happens. We receive phone calls, emails and letters daily, from riders thanking us for saving their lives or for protecting them from serious injury because they had a Troxel helmet on during a fall. No rider wants to believe an accident can happen to them but they do happen, and often.

Many sports incorporate traditional hats but they’re removed and replaced with protective head gear while competing. Bull riders are a fine example of this as many athletes are putting their helmet on right before they step up on a bull and once they step off, they put their cowboy hat back on. At Troxel, we’re asking all western riders to follow suit. Helmets should be looked at as an addition to your athletic apparel and traditional western attire not a replacement.

The heritage of many aggressive sports has been unchanged with the addition of helmets: skiing, snowboarding, BMX racing, bull riding, etc. The addition of protective safety gear has only enhanced and increased sport participation because athletes have been made safer.

This is why, over 12 years ago, Troxel began developing helmets specifically for western riders. At one time, we did sell an SEI / ASTM certified western hat helmet. Although we no longer offer this particular helmet, we do have many Western inspired options available featuring superior ventilation, sun protection, earth tone colors, vibrant graphics and more.

There are also several advantages to wearing a Troxel certified helmet over a cowboy hat or western hat helmet:

Ventilation — A helmet, if not properly ventilated, can get so hot it becomes unbearable, and even unsafe. All Troxel helmets have a unique inner smart channel ventilation system that effectively moves air throughout the helmet to keep the rider cool. When a black felt hat is integrated into a helmet without ventilation, it may be extremely hot and affect the safety of the rider, as well as the materials of the helmet. This was one of the main reasons why we opted to discontinue our western hat helmet and instead design a lighter and more ventilated western helmet.

Weight — Wearing a certified helmet can be lighter than a helmet incorporating a cowboy hat. This additional weight may put a strain on a riders neck.

Visibility — Wearing a Troxel helmet increases many riders visibility, especially peripheral vision. Riders in various speed events such as barrel racing and working cowhorse have to jam their hat on their head so that it won't fly off. This decreases the riders’ field of vision. All Troxel helmets feature a retention system to keep the helmet in place. So, you can rest assured your helmet will stay on and you can focus on riding.

Ease of Care — Troxel helmets can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. Cowboy hats and western hat helmets may need to be reshaped if not cared for correctly. These hats also require a specific brush or sponge for cleaning.

Cost — We offer numerous SEI / ASTM certified helmets at various price points and most cost less than the average cowboy hat or western hat helmet.

Our new Fallon Taylor collection, FTX and TX helmets are the latest additions to our popular line of western helmets. Loaded with performance features and available in a variety of styles and colors, they're built to offer riders uncompromising stability in the saddle.

We also recently relaunched our low profile Cheyenne helmet, the third and most advanced generation of the original pure western helmet. Assembled in the USA, the Cheyenne's handmade leather finish, lightweight design and cooling mesh-covered vents make it a favorite among western athletes in and out of the arena.

At Troxel, we want our western riders to be safe in the saddle and avoid the devastation that a significant head injury can cause. Please buckle up and reach out to our customer service team if we can be of any help in choosing the right helmet for you.

Do you wear a helmet when you ride? Join the discussion by leaving a comment below.

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