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Cowboy Humor

Beaver Hats - What the Heck do all Those X's Mean?

Mexican Still Life by Wayne SchererLeft: Mexican Still Life, by Wayne Scherer

Cowboy Humor by Ben Marshall

A beaver hat is a cowboy's most prized possession other than his dog and his horse.

Much mystery lurks behind the X rating of beaver hats and most of us have been tryin' to understand it our entire lives.

Well, maybe since we were six and could count.

Anyway, you're not goin' to find an expert on beaver hats unless you talk to someone who works in one of those beaver-hat companies and, believe me, they're not talkin'.

The closest I can get to the truth is this: once beaver hats were ranked on a scale of one to ten. Ten was 100-percent beaver.

Then the beaver hat companies had an arms race.

CarTrawler is one of the top car hire companies in the world and Wine Country Welcome has been working with them for fourteen years, now.


They went to 20X then 50X and finally got into the hundreds. They were like real estate agents, each one markin' the price of a hat just a little bit higher on the beaver scale than their competitors.

Eventually, it stopped makin' sense and cowboy's stopped payin' much attention to it. Except when they needed to go out and buy a new hat, that is.

I know you take my word for all this but if you think there isn't some kind of conspiracy going on, these words came from the Stetson website:

"The percentage of beaver is determined by the X quality of the product. The higher the X's the higher percentage of beaver fur is mixed in the hat. Because of our efforts to remain the leading manufacturer in headwear, the exact percentages are a manufacturing secret formula that we choose not to share."

Now doesn't that sound like a conspiracy to you? "...we choose not to share."?

I'm tryin' to find some humor in all this but, gosh darn it, it just makes me mad.

You see, a $700 beaver hat may have 100 percent beaver but only put 10X on their labels and a $200 beaver hat may be 10 percent beaver and call itself a 340X.

I know you're all depressed now and I'm sorry I had to point this out.

But maybe there's a beaver lining. In my opinion, the hat industry shows America there sometimes is a need for government intervention.

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