From The American Quarter Horse Journal
Ranch fashion may sound like an oxymoron, but in fact, in cowboy culture, fashion is necessary. Everything a cowboy wears has a use, and everything he uses has some sort of element of fashion. One accessory nearly every cowboy owns is a wild rag, which is a square scarf, usually made from silk or a silk blend, worn around the neck.
The wild rag has probably always been a part of a cowboy’s attire, as several songs from the trail-driving era of the late 19th century reference a sentimental or favorite colored bandana.
Now, 150 years later, the wild rag still has its place on the ranch and serves many purposes.
- A wild rag provides warmth.
- Can be worn over the nose to keep from breathing in dust.
- Can be wet down and tied around the neck to keep cool.
- Used to wipe sweat and dust off in summer.
- Used as a bandage in an emergency.
It’s also a way to add individual style for working cowboys and ranch horse competitors alike. Here’s how to wear it:
- The first step to wearing a wild rag is to fold it in half and, holding it by the tails, place it in front of your neck.
- Cross the tails behind your neck and bring them to the front to tie.
- Place one tail over the other.
- Wrap the top tail around the bottom tail and pull it down straight in front.
- Continue holding the top tail down straight. The bottom tail should be directly underneath it.