Wyoming Wind and a Plug Hat


Wyoming Wind and a Plug Hat

Bill Nye, my all-time favorite western humorist, like the rest of us who live in Wyoming often made a few unpleasant comments about the Wyoming wind. February seems to always be the bleak month in the Cowboy state. Cold and wind dominate.

 Nye entitled one of the short stories in his book, Forty Liars and Other Lies, “The Plug Hat in Wyoming,” and you guessed it, the wind is the antagonist.

Here is what he had to say –

“In the first place, the climate of Wyoming is not congenial to the plug hat. You may wear one at 1 o’clock with impunity, if you can dodge the vigilance committee, and at three minutes past1 a little cat’s paw of wind will come sighing down from the Snowy Range, that make the cellars and drive-wells tremble, and the hat looks like a frightened picket fence.”

He also plays with the idea of the hat maybe being too much of a dudes head topper to be worn in the rough and tumble 1870s – 80s Wyoming. “In former years they used to hang a man who wore a plug hat west of the Missouri but after a while they found that it was a more cruel and horrible punishment to let him wear it and chase it over the foothills when the frolicsome breeze caught it up and toyed with it, and landed it against the broad brow of Laramie Peak.

He does mention that the hats can be found as long as you are willing to travel fifteen or twenty miles, “as the crow flies,” to find it.

In the end he explains the hat of the day, the western style of hat. “Time may overcome at last the public disfavor, but until the Rocky Mountain wind is lulled to repose, so that a plug hat will not have to be tied on with a wrought iron stair-rod, the soft hat will be the prevailing style of roof.”

Bill Nye lived all too short a life (1850-1896) and unfortunately his very popular newspaper column was only partially saved over the years. Reading him today, more than a hundred years later he is still funny, no wonder he traveled the lecture circuit with Mark Twain.  
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