The decision to make a change is the easiest part. It might not be easy but it’s the easiest part. Implementing the change and staying with it, even if is uncomfortable and takes some skill changes or draws opinions from people that are not familiar with the change. If what you are doing goes against the status quo others will have an opinion and make judgements. This will create some pressure, so you need confidence in what you are doing, and have a strong desire and belief in the change you are making.

For me, the real pleasures in life come from relationships with people and care and handling of animals. Enjoying and improving what nature offers us creates real satisfaction for me.

I’m not a real materialistic person, but I do have some things that I really enjoy and have had for a while that I like. I had the same sunglasses since 1997, and very seldom wear them. I have a Bolin steer head buckle that I got the same year, and have worn it every day since. I bought a real nice leather and canvas suitcase that was pretty expensive about 10 years ago, had it rebuilt once and it’s getting wore out again, but I really like it and with all my travel it is nice to have luggage. I have a leather brief case I traded Chas Weldon for riding a horse for a month about 25 years ago and have it with me today. Good trade!

I like good quality for the things I use and enjoy all the time. Once you have a certain quality and enjoy it it’s hard to go back to lesser quality so I try to stay within my means. For my self, I don’t like debt on material things. So we have not borrowed money to buy vehicles and other things that depreciate in value. When you save money and buy a vehicle, or a saddle or something that is expensive, you make sacrifices before you purchase, and it makes you appreciate what you save to buy even more. But if you borrow to buy, you made no sacrifice, and every time you make a payment you wonder if it’s worth it, especially if you can’t afford it. I think this is a big problem society today. We aren’t satisfied with what we’ve got so we just keep getting more and more and get less and less satisfaction. I hope you are not in that situation. This is why enjoying the simple things in life is so important.

One material thing I really enjoy is a good hat.

I’ve been wearing the same style hat for quite a while. Greeley Hat Works have been building me great hats for a good while. I have had four exactly the same shape and brown color, and the last one was lighter colored but the same shape. (Wife Tammy’s request, or it would have been brown too.)

I’ve been thinking about trying a different style. I deal with lots of different parts of the livestock industry, and I spend lots of time in an airplane. A big brimmed felt hat doesn’t always fit these situations. It hard to find a place to put it on an airplane, and I believe you should have your hat off in the house and in a airplane.

Some dairy and cattle farmers look at a wearer of a cowboy hat with a little suspicion. This is because the one that wears it is usually a cowboy. I don’t look at myself as a cowboy, but a stockman, but lots of people make assumptions by looks and I don’t have time to explain the difference some times.

I talked to Trent Johnson with Greeley Hat Works about this and he said he had the solution. He and I were thinking the same thing. He made me a real nice small brimmed hat. I call it the “stockman” hat. I would not doubt that your grandfather or great grandfather wore one like it.

I couldn’t wait for it to come. When it did come it was even better than I imagined.
I put it on and it fit like all my Greeleys do, like I’ve been wearing it for a long time. Then I looked in the mirror. I shouldn’t have done that. It looked very different and the change made me uncomfortable even though the fit was comfortable. It was a big change in the way I looked. I thought I made a mistake. What would people say and think? It felt great but I liked the shape and style of my other hats. This made me feel like a dork.

Wife Tammy said she liked it and thought it looked great. That support helped me through the first doubts of change. I was going to Canada and then to North Carolina and thought it work fit in those situations so I put it on and headed for the airport. No turning back now.

I was so self conscious about my hat as I got into the hustle and bustle of travel. It made me real uncomfortable. Then people started complimenting it. I have always gotten compliments on my hats from flight attendants and people I meet up with in my travels. I feel it’s part of my job to promote the livestock industry and the western way of life, and dressing western and acting western is the best way to do that. I got way more compliments than normal.

I’m feeling better, but I still haven’t had to deal with the people in the business. Gord Collier, Zoetis rep and long time friend was the first contact. He made a real smart comment about my new hat, and that was perfect because if he wouldn’t have I would have known something was wrong. It opened up the competition of us trying to one up each other for the next nine days. With his comment it allowed me not to hold back in embarrassing and judging every move he made and telling his very health conscious significant other we had a Dairy Queen blizzard and watching him squirm as he got “the look”. This hat was better than I thought. All the time I was in Canada people seemed to really appreciate it. The ones that didn’t kept their comments to themselves. As the week went on I got more and more comfortable with the change. Young people seem to like it as it’s kind of the style I see worn by some of them and older folks are reminded of the days when everyone wore a dress hat.

We were doing a horse clinic and the fellow that owned the arena said he had been looking for what he called “The Dalles” hat for thirty years. Chuck had grown up in the windy area of the Dalles Oregon and that was the style worn because of the wind.
I told him where I got it and he was going to get one I hope.

So the change I made was not easy. I would have given up if I could have and went back to my comfort zone a few times. I am writing this setting on a plane, and my hat is not in my lap, but in the closet, and the flight attendant is watching it and keeps on telling me he likes it. I am headed to North Carolina to do a presentation with Temple Grandin, and it will be fun to see if she has any comments about it as she says what she thinks.


I really like the change I made. It fits my head and what I do. It’s not that there was anything wrong with my other hats, and I will sure keep wearing them, but this change fits too. As for those that make judgements on my hats and how I wear them and think less of me because I am not doing what they do, thats their decision and I can’t change that. I’ll try not to let that effect the way I do the things that improve my quality of life.

So all this discussion about my new Greeley Hat is really not about the hat, but about change. If you make a change in the way you work livestock, it may be the same as my hat story. Don’t give up. Keep trying. The longer you wear the stockmans hat (now we are talking about your hat or cap) the easier and more comfortable it will get. The style is not as important as the results. What other people think is important, positive or negative. We can influence and change people by our actions, and sometimes we need to go through the uncomfortable periods of change to get the results and rewards of change.

3 thoughts on “Change

  1. Dave Strohmeyer

    Enjoyed this read. Especially your comment you ‘Felt like a Dork’, still laughing at that one! Good friends who are peers tend to rib each other like a competition and have great fun.. In Idaho, our hats are more than whimsical expression of personal taste… Even the crowns and brims can be an identifier of geographical or colloquial groups… I never saw you wear a hat with a ‘ Montana peak’. You won’t see me wear a “great basin” flat hat, neither. Now-a-days, my hats all have a stampede string attached because of my age and lack of hair, it is likely to blow off and it’s to dang hard to get off and then back on the horse! From your friend in Idaho…Dave

  2. Kevin Devine

    Looks like the old Stetson “Open Road”. Good choice! I’m pretty sure Bolo ties are next šŸ™‚

  3. Christine Kaplan

    I sure feel the same way about hat style and being acustom to a style that has become my signature profile. I am glad to know that I am not the only one ! This blog post of yours has me examining my thinking and I just might make a change.
    All the best,

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