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  • kwhitmoyer2

Have You Ever Seen a Cowboy?

Updated: Feb 4

silk scarves
Silk Scarves

Well, have you? Have you ever actually seen a cowboy? I silently posed these questions on the ski slopes one day when a coworker opted to criticize my "fancy scarf" saying he'd "never seen a cowboy wear a scarf like that". Yes, mister, they do, and it is called a Wild Rag, and it is very commonly worn by the ranchers, farmers, cowboys, cowgirls and the many great folks throughout Montana and the Bitterroot Valley!

The wild rag is an important part of the cowboy uniform that came into use as far back as the 1800's. These days the wild rag is most preferably made of silk and can be found in a vast range of colors and patterns, but the wild rag was not always such a "fancy scarf".

The original wild rag came from old flour sacks that working cowboys would cut up to tie around their neck to protect themselves from the elements as they worked cattle. Over time they became an essential part of the cowboy's uniform as iconic as the cowboy's hat.

Today, these handy pieces of cloth are not only wildly vibrant and beautiful, they still hold the same practical value serving many uses. They can be used as a bandage, tourniquet, or even mask if need be. They keep the sun off your neck and dust out of your nose and lungs, you can soak them in water to keep yourself cool, and in the bitter cold they keep you warm.

Danger Dave Whitmoyer Rodeo Clown at Home

Whether for fashion or work, no matter your reason for wearing the wild rag, it is important to know how to tie your knot.

There are several different types of knots with varying levels of difficulty. The Square knot and Buckaroo Square knot are the most popular. I won't be showing you the Buckaroo because its difficulty level can be like tying knots in the devil's tail.

Watch below to learn how to tie the square knot, slide knot and just a plain old regular knot that takes not thought as you're in a hurry to get out the door!

You can find silk and acrylic wild rags at most any western or ranch supply store like Murdochs, North 40 or Tractor Supply, but I like to support small and local businesses, so I buy my wild rags from C Hangin C Designs or Man Scarves by Robin J.

Below is a link to the American Quarter Horse Association's nicely done post on the Wild Rag and more video instruction on how to tie other knots.

Follow me for more Bitterroot Life "how to" tips! :)

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