Wild, Wild… Rags?

By Arden Foster on January 30th, 2019

Classic, true cowboy, John Wayne

Scarves, or as we all call them out here, wild rags, have been a staple of cowboy attire for many years. If you go back and watch any western movie, it is not just the bad guys covering their faces - in fact, most of the cowboys are wearing them.  In addition to their practical uses which I will go into a bit later, they have become a symbol of the Old West, something even the most  sophisticated urbanite will associate with the genuine cowboy look.

If you have noticed, in any of the pictures from around Rainbow Trout Ranch, Jane, Linda, David and I  are often sporting beautiful looking wild rags. They come in many different colors, fabrics, and sizes, and the  matching  opportunities are endless! They can be found at western stores and specialty boutiques, and they are the best way to finish off any western outfit.

Today, they are mainly used to complete the cowboy or cowgirl look -  riders at the National Finals Rodeo are wearing them, and they are really in style it seems.  But  the working cowboy or cowgirl still uses them on a regular basis, and not just because they look good.  Which they do!  But beyond being a great cowboy accessory, they have a multitude of practical uses:

  1. Warmth in the cold - especially the pure silk ones
  2. Dampened,  they are very cooling in the heat
  3. Protection from dust - probably the most classic use
  4. A potholder by the campfire
  5. Strainer for drinking water
  6. Temporary saddle rigging
  7. Arm sling, tourniquet or bandage (for man or beast)
  8. Nose blower!
  9. Grass roots halter
  10. Draping over the eyes of a spooked or ornery horse

It is  worth pointing out that  Jane is the scarf  trendsetter at Rainbow Trout Ranch!! She says she fell in love with them when she first came out west all those years ago and learned about them from cowboys and cowgirls before her.  Just  like I have learned from her.  I am now obsessed too  --and we can’t seem to get enough of them, even giving them to each other for Christmas!


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