Sheriff Bans Officers from Wearing Cowboy Hats and Boots

April 19, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. sheriff /ˈʃɛr ɪf/ (n.) – an elected law-enforcing officer in some US towns or territories
Example: A sheriff’s term usually last for four years.

2. dress code /drɛs koʊd/ (n.) – rules or guidelines on the clothes allowed to be worn
Example: The office’s revised dress code now allows employees to wear t-shirts.

3. deputy /ˈdɛp yə ti/ (n.) – a subordinate to a sheriff
Example: The deputy sheriff submits reports every Monday afternoon.

4. qualm /kwɑm/ (n.) – the feeling of doubt toward something
Example: Residents spoke about their qualms about the town’s new rule.

5. preserve /prɪˈzɜrv/ (v.) – to keep in its original form or state
Example: The museum preserves its historical items.


Read the text below.
The new sheriff of Sublette County, Wyoming [wahy-OH-ming], imposed a new dress code that bans the use of cowboy hat and boots among deputy sheriffs.   

Sheriffs and deputies in Wyoming and most of western America usually wear cowboy hats and boots. The new dress code requires deputies to wear black trousers, a tan long-sleeved polo shirt, black boots, and a black cap.

Sublette Sheriff Stephen Haskell explained that these changes were done to promote safety and uniformity. He said that the roads get slippery during winter and that cowboy boots do not help with traction. Aside from that, the cowboy hats can be easily blown away by wind.

Haskell wanted to standardize the look of deputies to look more professional. According to the spokesperson of Wyoming sheriff department, residents have no qualms on the changes, but rather non-residents of Wyoming seem to have a problem with it.

Critics claim that the changes ignore the cowboy culture that western America is known for. True West magazine editor Bob Boze Bell, in particular, argued that the cowboy hat and boots make the American West unique and should remain that way.

The magazine recently ranked Pinedale town ninth in its 2015 Top 10 True Western Towns. This town is where Haskell’s headquarters is located. Santa Clarita, California, came in tenth while Durango, Colorado, topped the list. Annually, editors select the top 10 towns based on how each western town preserves and promotes its old buildings, museums, events, and historical resources.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you approve of the ban on cowboy hats and boots? Why or why not?
·         Do you agree that Western America’s cowboy culture is being ignored because of the officers’ new dress code? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think preservation of historical resources is important?
·         What popular Japanese traditions are seemingly fading away?

April 19, 2015