Lavonna “Shorty” Koger could hear the bells and whistles going off loud and clear. But they weren’t from the nearby schoolhouse, a local church, or even to signal an oncoming train — they were in her head.
As the story goes, Shorty’s brother had just sent a bunch of cowboy hats out to be renovated but was beside himself when they were returned in worse condition. Truth be told, they were ruined. So he made the offhand comment that Shorty, who as a young cowgirl used to shape hats in between barrel racing and even riding a few bulls, should start her own hat business. What a great idea! Needless to say, it didn’t take long for Shorty to jump onboard.
“I found a guy right here in Oklahoma City. His name happened to be Shorty, and it all worked out perfect because he was selling his business,” Shorty said in an interview with National Little Britches Rodeo. “He had a buyer for it, however. So I asked him what time the buyer would be there to pay for the business. He told me, and I got there five minutes early.”
Thirty years later, Shorty is not only a symbol of western life, but she’s the only female custom hatter in the United States.
Known for their handcrafted stitching, fun designs and colors, and impeccable attention to detail, Shorty’s Caboy Hattery takes pride in each hat, which is either made of pure beaver or a beaver blend. They do custom designs, renovations, and also have hats in stock to choose from. Each is made by real people, not mass-produced by a machine, and they are gushed over by practically everyone in the western world. Shorty’s fans include horse show and rodeo winners to even a few country music stars. The hats need to be seen to be believed and are on full display at their company website.
We are naturally big fans of Shorty. One of the biggest reasons is her down-to-earth style. You literally feel like you are working with your friend and neighbor. On top of that, there’s the customization piece, a business practice we hold near and dear to our hearts here at The Original Windmill Ceiling Fan Company. Instead of delivery a hat that is almost perfect or barely fits, or forcing the shopper to choose off a store shelf, the staff at Shorty’s does a head shaping session for each customer before getting started. This guarantees that each hat fits the intended owner perfectly. Shorty has six employees who are just as dedicated and are in it for the long haul.
“We’re just a big team here. We want to put out the best product possible, so we all work together, and it’s just a happy family,” Shorty said to NLBR.
If you’re trying to find a hat that speaks to your style and who you are, or you found one and want to keep it looking good for as long as possible, then give Shorty’s Caboy Hattery a call or stop by. And if you stop by, you may just see one of our customer windmill ceiling fans. Yeehaw!!!
Shorty’s Hattery is celebrating 30 years!!!! Check out their awesome video: