Craftsmen

Lavonna “Shorty” Koger

Lavonna ‘Shorty’ Koger stands and smiles for portrait in front of shelves of cowboy hats.

Lavonna “Shorty” Koger has always been fascinated with the Western lifestyle which inspired her to start her own custom hattery.

Lavonna Koger, or “Shorty,” spent most of her youth in Fairfax, Oklahoma. Leaving a lasting impact, she remembers seeing three cowboy actors in town when she was about 5 years old and being enamored with their colorful cowboy shirts, boots and really cool shaped hats. From that day forward, despite her mother’s view of what a girl should be, she set her sights on being a cowboy. As a teenager, she taught herself how to ride and started barrel racing and bull riding. Always fascinated with the lifestyle, Shorty ran a Western store, learned to shape hats and ponied horses at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds raceway. After sending her late father’s hats to be renovated and receiving them back ruined, her brother told her she could have done a better job, which sparked a fire. She taught herself hat renovation by trial and error. Shorty’s Caboy Hattery, started in 1990 in Oklahoma City, is now the only woman-owned and operated custom hattery in the United States.

Lavonna ‘Shorty’ Koger laughs and jokes with cowboys in Shorty’s Caboy Hattery vests.
Lavonna ‘Shorty’ Koger laughs and jokes with cowboys in Shorty’s Caboy Hattery vests. Photo courtesy of Lavonna ‘Shorty’ Koger

Cowgirl Traits

Dedicated. Persevering. Strong-minded.

Definition of “Cowgirl”

“I dreamed of being a cowgirl since I was a child. I love the Western lifestyle. A true cowgirl is someone who loves and breathes the working lifestyle — someone who dedicates their life to growing the Western way of life in a way they believe will make a difference. You can’t be afraid of criticism. People refer to the cowgirl spirit a lot, and that’s what we all have in common. Cowgirls are passionate, strong women who push through barriers and get the job done. I’m sure when I was young, I thought of cowgirls as girls riding horses — rodeoing and ranching. But what I know now is we are women driving the agriculture industry in all kinds of ways. Yes, many ride horses regularly, but many don’t because we are in boardrooms, driving combines, hauling kids to play dates, teaching ag classes, promoting rodeos, raising money for our industry families, running ranches and all kinds of other jobs.”

Lavonna ‘Shorty’ Koger stands over a steamer and shapes a felt hat.
Lavonna ‘Shorty’ Koger stands over a steamer and shapes a felt hat. Photo courtesy of Lavonna ‘Shorty’ Koger
Lavonna ‘Shorty’ Koger poses for portrait with Art of the Cowgirl Master Hat Maker belt buckle on.
Lavonna ‘Shorty’ Koger poses for portrait with Art of the Cowgirl Master Hat Maker belt buckle on. Photo courtesy of Lavonna ‘Shorty’ Koger

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