Updated: Mar 17
NFR qualifier and General Manager of HatCo – makers of Resistol, Stetson & Charlie 1 Horse.
Ricky Bolin grew up attending rodeos in Mesquite and dreamed of joining the circuit someday. He qualified for his first national finals, held in Oklahoma City, at age 19. He qualified for the same national finals, for a fourth time, when the event moved to Las Vegas in 1985. Four years later, he stopped competing. “I retired when I was 30, which is actually pretty old for a bull rider,” Bolin says.
Ricky Bolin was 15 years old when he bought his second car. It was the same year he graduated from amateur rodeos to riding professionally—a rare exception granted before the age-18 minimum, with support from Neal Gay and Jim Shoulders, both members of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
The new ride replaced the Buick LeSabre he bought when he was 14, which came with a license plate that read “HA T750.” Even back then, Bolin had the feeling it meant something. “It wasn’t a vanity plate or anything; it had to be a direction,” he says. “I’ve always remembered that.”
Today, Bolin heads up operations at Hatco Inc., which produces a million hats a year for brands such as Resistol, Charlie 1 Horse, and Stetson, arguably the most well-known hat in the world. Every hat is handcrafted in the company’s factory and headquarters in Garland, but the brands they fall under are entirely their own. Resistol, the oldest sponsor of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association, targets the working cowboy and country music fans, with collections from both George Strait and Jason Aldean. The more fashion-minded Charlie 1 Horse, founded in the 1970s and made famous by wearers such as Waylon Jennings, Charlie Daniels, and retired NASCAR driver Richard Petty, are finished off in a special corner of the factory, where hand-cut leathers, beaded headbands, and feathers are added to give the hats their own distinct themes and personalities.