STEPHENVILLE — Turns out Tarleton State University President James Hurley and wife Kindall look mighty fine in cowboy hats.
The Tennessee Hurleys’ immersion in Lone Star State culture — they moved here from the Volunteer State just over a year ago when Dr. Hurley became Tarleton president — accelerated recently with the presentation of cowboy hats from the American Hat Company at one of its local retailers, Saddle Rags Western Store in Stephenville.
Saddle Rags owners Jimmy and Sheri Drury, both Tarleton alumni, were on hand for the presentation.
“We support anything in the western industry and Tarleton,” Sheri said. “We’ve owned the store for 26 years and have always hired Tarleton students.”
While Jimmy shaped Dr. Hurley’s hat, the Drurys’ son, Tarleton junior Zane Drury, who also works at the store, shaped Kindall’s hat with a little help from Tyler Dick, a Tarleton senior from Oakley, Utah, who competes in steer wrestling on the rodeo team.
“Tarleton State University provides a great service to the western industry, and we love to be involved with them any way that we can,” said Keith Mundee, President of the 105-year-old company headquartered in Bowie.
Mundee follow’s Tarleton’s “top-notch” rodeo team and noted that it includes in its alumni ranks such world champions as Jackie Crawford and Haven Meged.
“American Hat Company loves to sponsor and be a part of youth organizations like the National High School Rodeo Association and the Junior Rodeo Association,” he added. “Dr. Hurley has done a fantastic job of engaging with the students and propelling college youth forward.”
Katie Armstrong, the company’s public relations manager and another Tarleton alum, presented a straw hat for each of the Hurleys in addition to a custom-made 100X black felt hat for Dr. Hurley and a 100X natural felt hat for Kindall.
“We’re so appreciative to Katie and American Hat Company for their welcoming gift,” said Dr. Hurley. “In our short time in Texas we’ve grown to love it. We’re very pleased, as Texans, to now have the finest cowboy hats made in the world.”