Best Of The West 2012: Bolo Ties
Photography: Aaron Dougherty Photography
The bolo tie’s origins are a matter of great debate in the Southwest. But it’s safe to say the bolo’s history has a lot to do with the craftiness of cowboys and the craftsmanship of Indians. In his book Bola Tie: New Symbol of the West, “Bola Bill” Kramer posits that the first bolo tie was an accident that occurred in the 1940s when Arizona silversmith Victor E. Cedarstaff was chasing wild horses. He slipped his silver-edged hatband over his neck after it flew off his hat. Someone complimented the unintended accessory, so he went to his shop and forged the first official bolo. Other sources say the tie was a natural evolution from the neckerchiefs of Argentine cowboys. But to give any cowpoke full credit would be disrespectful to Native American craftsmen, who have been perfecting the art since at least the 1860s.