Western & English Today

Spring 2016

W&E Today provides retailers and manufacturers with education and ideas that provoke innovation in the Western and English markets.

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32 Western & English Today HOT ticket SPRING 2016 O NE OF THE BIGGEST SHOWSTOPPERS — AND THE MOST important new innovation in riding gear — for 2016 comes from Resistol, part of the Garland, Texas-based RHE Hatco Inc. franchise. T e brand beloved by cowboys for more than 80 years has introduced the Resistol Ridesafe hat, combining a classic cowboy felt with safety riding helmet technology. T e black 7X fur felt hat features a hard plastic band, with protection in the top of the crown and padding in the back. An adujstable chin strap holds it f rmly in place. Teaming with the safety helmet industry, Resistol spent 4½ years working on the Ridesafe design to better protect Western pleasure riders, little ones f rst learning to ride, team penners, high school rodeo competitors, and dude ranchers while in the saddle. "It's a regular cowboy hat," says Ricky Bolin, general manager for Hatco Inc., which also produces Stetson, Charlie 1 Horse, and Wrangler headwear. "It's not big. It's not bulky but still gives protection. It doesn't have a facemask — we're not marketing it for bull riders — but it's def nitely something our industry needs. We as a company want to be leaders for sure, but we also want to protect people, and we want to have hats in the [rodeo] arena, not helmets." Bolin notes that the new "Western helmet" has already generated "a lot of exposure and a lot of excitement" around the world: Australia, Brazil—and West Yellowstone, Montana. Bambi Portman came to the Resistol showroom at the Western & English Sales Association's January market in Denver specif cally interested in the Ridesafe hats for the Diamond in the Rough Gif Shop at West Yellowstone's Diamond P Ranch. Although technically not a dude ranch (the Diamond P doesn't provide overnight lodging), it does of er trail rides, running a string of roughly 80 horses in the summer, for tourists interested in riding into Gallatin National Forest, overlooking Yellowstone National Park and the Continental Divide. "I've been looking for this for years now," Portman says. T e ranch can't make riders wear safety helmets but has to make them available. Riders from the East Coast and a majority of those from California want helmets, Portman says. And parents don't hesitate to put helmets on young children. But older kids and adult tourists from f yover states typically want to wear cowboy hats. "Once they get to be 10 or 11 [years old], they want hats," Portman says, adding that if the Ridesafe hats were of ered, adults from all over would opt to look like cowboys. She placed an order for 10. Resistol hopes to ship the Ridesafe, retailing for $249.99, by the f rst of April. Sizes will range from roughly 6½ to 7⅜. — Johnny D. Boggs Resist All Head Injury After years of research, Resistol has put safety technology in a cowboy hat.

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