Do you prefer rodeo contestants be required to wear western hats or have the choice to wear a protective helmet?


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  • They should absolutely be given the choice/opportunity to protect themselves. Riding helmets take nothing away from the performance. Plus they can be made with Western styling.

  • Okay, I’ll go first. I recently helped a young girl prep for the Miss Rodeo Austin queen pageant and while we were talking about possible rodeo questions, the topic of helmet vs, hat came up. We both agreed that it’s hard to argue the safety points of a helmet. But we are glad that like a motorcycle helmet, the choice is optional. A cowboy hat is the one piece of clothing that instantly defines who we are. It’s an iconic symbol recognized around the globe and tradition older than rodeo itself. There’s even something magical and empowering about wearing your favorite lucky hat. So I for one am glad the sport is optional. 🙂

  • Helmets! There is way too much stigma associated with a helmet. I would like helmets to be mandatory for all barrel racers. Just like it is on the race track. No one is allowed on a horse on the track at any time without a helmet. Even the out riders. And no one questions it or argues with it. It’s for safety. No rider is exempt from a head injury, ever. Granted a helmet doesn’t stop your neck from breaking, they save lives and many unnecessary deaths and head injuries could have been prevented with the presence of a helmet.

  • Allow competetors the choice. I for one think hats are classy and traditional and I feel like it’s most certainly part of rodeo. I would never cast judgement on anyone who chooses to wear a helmet but I don’t believe the choice should be taken away from any of us.

  • We all should have the freedom of choice as it should be in many decisions in our lives. People enjoy the tradition of the cowboy hats and it should simply be an individual decision without passing personal public opinion in the negative direction of the individual.

  • Unless you are under 18 and/or are riding in a rough stock event (especially bull riding) the choice should be up to the contestant. As adults we should be allowed to make the choice. Period.

  • give the contestant the choice. Like vest have protected many, helmets do the same for rough stock. Pee Wee rodeo helmets should b mandatory like vests.

  • As a photographer, I absolutely prefer the western hat over the helmet. That being said, I have also witnessed too many head injuries, in and outside the arena. Under 18 y/o should be required to helmet, over 18 should be rider’s choice.

  • I compete in open barrel races and wear a helmet. Once I have the right horse I hope to run pro and I will wear a helmet. If I cannot it could ruin my dream of going pro. I think a choice is important. I think it would be shame on WPRA to not allow a contestant to be safer. I hope Fallon Taylor keeps it up.

  • At HelmetTough, we encourage riders to make their own choice in their head gear. Western Hats or Helmets should not be required either way. Those who want to protect themselves should have the ability to and those who choose not to should be able to make that choice as well – BOTH without negative repercussions from others. We are a family in rodeo and regardless of each competitors choice on what they wear on their head we should all be sticking together and treating each other as one.
    For more information, I encourage you to read our article here: