Helmets vs Western Hats

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

24 Comments

  • Mitch Templeton Reply

    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.

  • Kendra Reply

    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. 🙂

  • KJC Reply

    I feel as a contestant we should have the choice .

  • Crystal Reply

    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.

  • Jenn Reply

    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.

  • Lois Spurr Shelley Reply

    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.

  • Valerie Walters Reply

    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.

  • Sidney Welch-Huserik Reply

    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.

  • Lisa Reply

    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.

  • Shawnee Reply

    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.

  • HelmetTough Reply

    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: http://www.helmettough.com/CowboyHats.html

  • Joanna Mc Reply

    I feel that the rider should choose if they want to wear a helmet or hat!

  • Marisa Reply

    Someone mentioned earlier that cowboy hats defined them. I just want to say that I believe it is the horse that defines you, visually, as a cowboy or cowgirl. If you don’t have your horse, then throw on your hat. With that said, it should be the choice of the adult with regard to their head gear, but under age riders? They need to wear helmets. Minor motorcyclists need to wear helmets, minor aged baseball players are required to wear helmets, football players wear helmets, hockey players wear helmets, lacrosse players wear helmets, softball players wear helmets, jumpers wear helmets, but for some reason, our sport, where the equipment has its own brain and weighs 1000 pounds, we don’t require our children to wear helmets. I just don’t understand.

  • Kristie Reply

    I think it should be the rider’s choice. I am definitely against it being a requirement for the riders to wear a helmet. The cowboy hat is such a great tradition and is becoming more and more rare. Let’s not lose that.

  • Jessica Reply

    I don’t feel like the age of a person changes the value of ones life. I don’t believe it should be mantitory if you’re 18 & younger or if you’re 50+ . As parents and competitors we know the risk of rodeo and how we choose to protect ourselves should be OUR choice. Heck, there are states that do not require motorcyclist to wear a helmet !! We should be givin the right to choose our own safety !! Fallon needs to get off her high horse and stop making the sport of barrel racing look like a joke !

    • Celia Harrah Reply

      Jessica if I were you I would shut up I’m eleven and I rodeo and I wear a helmet ur never gonna be as good as Fallon with that attitude.Fallon has had a hard life , she is special because she has overcome so many things with a great view of life

  • Glenda Reply

    Totally should have the choice. I feel helmets should definitely be a safe choice.

  • Miley Reply

    I believe the choice should 100% belong to the contestant, at any age.The cowboy hat is such a significant part our sport. It represents so much and has such a history. Personally, I would rather wear a cowboy hat, and I would be very disappointed if helmets became a mandatory part of our dress etiquette. Even at a younger age I do not think it should be mandatory. I do understand the reasoning others use to make the choice of using a helmet, which is why I strongly believe in the choice.

  • Heidi Reply

    I admit that I prefer the look of a cowboy hat over a helmet…but I wear a helmet when I’m riding and strongly believe that riders should be allowed to choose. I’m so glad Fallon Taylor has been wearing one and I hope she keeps it up.
    Riders definitely should have the choice.

  • Tammy Reply

    Should be a choice at all levels. I agree that the cowboy hat is very iconic!

  • Lyndsey Reply

    I think it should be a choice for youth or adult…I am a parent of 3 boys and have a older brother with a head injury from a horse fall… with that being said I still would not make my kids wear a helmet if they didnt want to…its part of a tradition, our heritage, who we are, and big part of rodeo..I dont think its “rodeo” when you see someone in a helmet..yes even the bull riders and im married to a bull rider..You knowingly put yourself in danger everytime you swing a leg over. Its not something out of your control….My children know the dangers of riding horses and rough stock but yet my 6 yr old still wants to ride calves…you can bash me all you want for not making my kids wear a helmet but it wont change my mind…My husband, our kids, or myself will not wear one… I think it should be a choice and not mandatory…

  • Sydney Reply

    Even bull riders are not required to wear a helmet, except I think NHSRA is trying to make a helment mandatory for contestants under 18. In my opinion, bull riding is much more dangerous than any timed event and it’s still an option for them. I’ve been dating a bull rider for the past 3 years, so I definitely know how dangerous it can be. It should definitely be an option to the contestant, no matter what age, to wear either a hat or helmet but to make it mandatory is not necessary. No one should be discriminated against for wearing a helmet but no one should be forced to wear one either.

  • Michelle Reply

    I do NOT think that helmets should be required for adults. I ALWAYS wear a helmet no matter what horse I’m riding or what activity, but it is a choice- I’m a free, responsible American adult and wearing a helmet should be MY choice.

  • Melody Reply

    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. 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.