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Slideshow: At Cattle Industry Convention, cowboy hats stretched as far as the eye could see as attendees from across the country sported their best Western wear.

Betty Haynes

February 24, 2023

38 Slides

The cowboy hat is the ultimate symbol of the cowboy spirit: the determination to be independent, the resolve to be self-sustainable and the courage to defend your beliefs, no matter the cost. At the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans, cowboy hats stretched as far as the eye could see.

Forrie J. Smith, who plays Lloyd Pierce on Taylor Sheridan’s TV series “Yellowstone,” made a special guest appearance for the opening general session.

“We’re excited to be here,” he said. “This is our culture and our heritage. We’re with our people.”

Smith sported a gray cowboy hat from American Hat Co. in Bowie, Texas.

“They’re made in America, and that’s the best there is,” he explained. “I’m wearing a gray hat because in my day, that was the cattleman’s hat.”

Under each hat lies an individual distinctly different from the rest. Ranchers, professors, advocates, businesspeople and even celebrities made up the CattleCon23 crowd. And each hat tells a story. Some are custom, others have been handed down through the generations — but all weave together to create the thread that makes up the cattle industry.

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About the Author(s)

Betty Haynes

Betty Haynes is the associate editor of Prairie Farmer. She grew up on a Menard County, Ill., farm and graduated from the University of Missouri. Most recently, Betty worked for the Illinois Beef Association, entirely managing and editing its publication.

She and her husband, Dan, raise corn, soybeans and cattle with her family near Oakford , Ill., and are parents to Clare.

Betty won the 2023 Andy Markwart Horizon Award, 2022 Emerging Writer, and received Master Writer designation from the Ag Communicators Network. She was also selected as a 2023 Young Leader by the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists.

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