The Judge likes to say otherwise, but I wore the hat first.
Many San Antonians think Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, known to me as just “Dad,” started the hat trend and that I jumped on board, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
It all started in the early 1990s — I was the staffing manager for Six Flags Fiesta Texas when it first opened. My “follicular challenges” are not new, so while I spent my days walking around the park in 100 degree temperatures, I knew I needed to protect my head. My sun protection of choice: a fedora.
In 2005, I began my political career as a San Antonio City Councilman with the same fedoras I’d been wearing for over a decade. The Judge had me beat in years of public service though, and had rarely been seen in public without a fedora himself.
Alas, the “you just wear a hat because he does” was born.
So, I decided to mix it up. I had always liked the hat both President Truman and President Johnson had worn: the Stetson Open Road. It’s a cross between a traditional fedora/business hat and a traditional cowboy hat. A “dressy cowboy hat,” if you will. I’ve got them in multiple colors now and rarely leave the house without one.
But make no mistake: I wore a hat first.
And now you know the truth.
Why am I sharing this story with you now? Because it’s Fiesta, of course! The hat helped inspire my Fiesta medal this year. Despite it being one of my “calling cards,” this is the first year the hat is featured on one of my Fiesta medals.
In 2019, I wanted my medal to reflect my personality in a fun and festive way. The medal features a wolf wearing my signature Stetson. The illustration of the wolf is an homage to Fiesta and San Antonio culture, with its vibrant colors and sugar skull theme.
I also wanted the medal to be instantly recognizable if you know me, and if you don’t, make you ask, “Why is this wolf wearing a hat?” The playful design is laid-back and silly, and shows that the wolf doesn’t take himself too seriously — just like this Wolff doesn’t.
The hat has been part of my life for many years now, and I’m pleased to have it part of my Fiesta 2019 celebrations. From my family to yours, I wish you a happy and safe Fiesta!