History of the Wild Rag

A ‘ wild rag” is a cowboy or Western scarf worn around the neck. They are worn by both cowboys and cowgirls, for both work and for play. But fast forward to today’s times and you won’t just see a cowboy wearing one!! Wild rags have gone from neckwear to headwear to belts and pony tail holders in just a matter of a few short fashion seasons!

Paisley wild ragThe Very first Cowboy wild rags were worn for warmth in cold temperatures, and for protection from sun, wind, and dirt anytime. In many regions wild rags are a standard part of cowboy dress whether it be for work or social occasions. They come in a wide variety of COLORS, sizes, and fabrics, with silk and polyester being some of the most popular fabric choices. Wild Rags date back as far as the mid 1800’s. Cowboys were known to use old flour sacks cut into squares when fabric such as a cotton was either too expensive are hard to come by while living on the range.

Some of the many uses for a wild rag include:

  • Protection from the elements
  • A Potholder by the campfire
  • Strain drinking water
  • Temporary saddle rigging or a rope
  • Arm sling, tourniquet or bandage (for man or beast)
  • Flagging a race
  • Nose blower
  • Draping over the eyes of a spooked or ornery horse