Buckaroo Buys: Pistols & Petticoats Millinery

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life, Rodeo

I crossed paths with Melanie Anseth a few years ago when we acquired one of her and her husband’s horses. She has been on my radar ever since as the enigmatic, bright woman she is, and I’ve been even more intrigued to see what she can get done with hats. If you’re in need of a new lid, reach out to Melanie! She’ll get you set up with as fancy or classic a cowboy hat as you desire and the quality won’t be beat!

Pistols and Petticoats

How did you get your start in millinery?

I was the floor manager at a western store. I worked a lot with the hats. We sold new ones and we also did light cleaning and shaping. I loved it! My boss saw that I enjoyed shaping the hats and working with them. He suggested that I learn how to make them.

At that time some of the hat companies had schools to teach people how to make hats and I had thought about attending one, but other things happened in my life. So my life went a different direction, but I’ve always had that love of working with hats. When Martin and I decided to buy this house at Dayton I decided to find someone that would teach me how to make hats.

Is there anyone in particular that helped or inspired you?

Randy Rains taught me how to make hats, and I guess my greatest desire is to be as good as him someday because I think Randy is a very exceptional hat maker.

What is your favorite aspect of building/repairing hats?

I really enjoy making new hats and seeing a customer’s face when they see the finished product of the color and ribbon that they’ve chosen and the style, but I think my greatest enjoyment is when I get the challenge of taking an old beat up hat and bringing it back to life. That probably is what I enjoy the most.

Pistols & Petticoats

How long have you been at it?

This is my sixth year in the hat-making business.

What makes your product different than others?

First of all I would have to say that I ask God to bless every person whose hat I make and refurbish. My hats are different than most because my customers can choose a forest green, a wine, or a classic silver belly hat body to begin with, then from there they can choose from numerous ribbon colors, brights to basics on their crown and bound edge. They can even get a leather bound edge. They can have a concho on the crown ribbon or they can have a customized flower made personally by me.

What is the most important to you in regard to hats?

When I started this business I wanted to make hats for the people that wear it to town or wear it for good, but my goal when I started was to make an affordable hat for the working cowboy. The people that use them every day. I want my hats to be able to go through a snowstorm, a rainstorm, and even get stomped on by a bronc, but will be able to make it to town on a Saturday night.

Pistols & Petticoats

What are your hopes or goals for the future?

My goal is to someday have a shop in town and have it be real rustic where I can display all my cowboy gear and my hats. It would even be awesome to have a place where cowgirls and cowboys can come in and throw a loop or two at the dummy and sit and visit. Kind of like a gathering place for the working cowboy people. That’s what I would really like.

What is your favorite non-hat activity, hobby or past time?

I don’t know if you could call it a hobby, but I love being in the outdoors. I love hunting, fishing, I love horseback riding. I especially love the fall time when you get to strip the calves from the cows. I just like being out in the country in the peace and the quiet. That is probably my greatest joy.

Tell me about your family.

My husband Martin is a working cowboy and we have been married for almost 22 years, we’ve worked on several ranches together. In fact we met at the Padlock ranch. In the summers, we as a family go to several ranch rodeos where he enjoys judging. Our son Silas was a working cowboy for several years until he was forced to quit due to medical reasons. He enjoys hunting and fishing. NataLee our daughter just graduated from high school last spring and she loves the ranch life and enjoys her goats and her dogs.

Pistols & Petticoats

Did you make each of your family members a hat or a few hats? Did they design them or were you able to?

I have made five hats for each of them and I have made myself three. Martin and NataLee had designs already picked out. Silas let me design a few of his with my own creativity.

Pistols & PetticoatsWhat else do I need to know about Melanie?

My family is the most important thing to me, and I would probably be willing to fight off a grizzly bear to save them. I’m also a very honest person so if you don’t want to know where I stand on things, don’t ask.

To see or order some of Melanie’s handiwork, visit her Facebook page or call her at 406-665-5358.

Posted in: Featured, Ranch Life, Rodeo


About Savanna Simmons

I'm Savanna Simmons and I live north of Lusk, Wyoming, on the Four Three Ranch with my husband Boe and our sons, Brindle and Roan. I grew up evolving my horsemanship with clinicians like Ray Hunt, Joe Wolter, and Jack Brainard, but not within a...

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