Estimating the hat budget of The CWs' 'Walker'

Three Texas Rangers wear ostentatious hats
(Image credit: The CW)

Rebooting Walker, Texas Ranger in 2021 sure is a choice. The original evangelical-minded Chuck Norris show is a syndication stalwart, and centers on the titular lawman, Cordell Walker, as he spin-kicks his way through a series of bad guys. It's full of the kind of 90s toxic masculinity and police are heroes kind of storytelling that people have been moving away from and rightfully critiquing for years. It's also completely ridiculous and regularly features a number of supernatural storylines including time travel and telekinesis. Sadly, the best and most silly parts of the original have not transferred over to the reboot, and neither has a new nuanced take if the Jared Padalecki led pilot is anything to go by. But The CW reimagining of Walker does bring something new to the table and that thing is hats. Lots and lots of very expensive looking hats. 

Now I'll admit i'm no hat-pricing expert. In fact the average price of a hat in my home is probably around $8. I've purchased a lot of cheap beanies from Daiso but the average is driven up by a slightly more expensive Moomin winter hat I bought myself for Christmas. All of that is to say this estimation is not based on any science or experience, but simply on the fact the hats in Walker look seriously expensive to me and my thrifty hat tastes. And it turns out from some internet research that I was right and that cowboy hats are actually very, very expensive! With all of that established, let's talk about the fabulous and pricey looking hats of Walker. 

Walker's Ten-Gallon Texas Ranger Hat

Estimated Price: $2500

This is Walker's defining hat. The hefty off-white suede (?) creation is as much of a character as Walker himself. When we first meet him on the way to meet his soon to be dead wife (Genevieve Padalecki), this is the hat we see. It sits aloft Padalecki's brow, reaching a good five or six inches above his stoic glare. Even though he has a partner in Micki (Lindsey Morgan), Walker's real partner is this hat. Sometimes he decorates it with a brown leather cord, other times he wears it clean. This is the hat that was with him when he last saw his wife, it's the hat he wears when he's committing blatantly illegal acts of police brutality, and when he's ignoring his grieving kids. His Ranger hat is Walker's best friend and for that reason I am estimating it is the most expensive hat on the show. According to the internet, ten-gallon hats can run for as much as $5000, so I'm splitting the difference and playing it safe with this steal of a price for the role of Leading Hat on Walker. 

Walker's Casual Off-Duty Black Ten-Gallon Hat 

Estimated Price: $2000

This is Walker's bad boy hat. This is the hat he wears when he's not a lawman, when he's just a struggling alcoholic dad who has to pick up his daughter from the police station. Depressingly, this is also probably the hat he wore to his fridged wife's funeral. She died so his series could have a season-long mystery and all he got was this sick looking hat. Important to note this is also the hat that he wears when he's thinking about helping an undocumented family, which seems to be a thread this series wants to explore... it's weirdly symbolic as he can't help them in his actual role as a Texas Ranger so can only wear his renegade hat while he considers actually doing the right thing. Was this hat more or less expensive? I prefer it greatly to his cop hat, also easier to keep clean thanks to the fact that it's black. But seeing as it's only a supporting hat I am guessing it was a little cheaper than the star hat of the show. Also, it might be the easter egg brain worms setting in, but this hat is probably a reference to the original series where Chuck Norris wore a hat just like this but with some more shiny accoutrements. 

Micki's Ten-Gallon Ranger Hat

Estimated Price: $2000

She's the moral compass of the show and her pure white crushed suede Ranger hat represents that. Micki is also the only person who does any martial arts in the show, which makes her immediately the best of the cop characters. Sadly, we only got one roundhouse kick during this episode and she wasn't wearing her hat while she did it. Shocking! Although Micki Ramirez is Walker's partner from the pilot, we don't get to know much about her or her hat. But she does wear one and seems to be conflicted over her role as a Latinx woman and a Texas Ranger. Maybe she'll get a grey hat when she begins to explore that duality? For now, however, she's got this hat which was likely rather pricey but just a little less expensive than the hat that perches on Walker's head.

Walker's Dad's Brown Ten-Gallon Ranching Hat

Estimated Price: $700

When you want your audience to know that they're dealing with a good down to earth man, you put him in a slightly worn brown hat and have him down on the ranch. At least, that's what you do in the world of Walker. Bonham Walker (Mitch Pileggi) is the patriarch of the Walker family but he's also really chill and relaxed. You can tell by the way he plays board games and wears a kind of scuffed up hat. Seeing as he's a salt of the earth guy, I'm placing the price of this hat near the bottom of our price range. Heck, maybe Pileggi just bought his own hat to the set? 

Stan's Ten-Gallon Hat

Estimated Price: $500

Jeffrey Nordling plays this random character who is clearly close to Walker and his family but in what way I have not yet deciphered. He appears early in the pilot to eat Walker's mom's brisket (really) and celebrate Walker's return from a stint as an undercover cop. But what he lacks in character development and motivation, he makes up in the hat dept. He wants that brisket, he doesn't want anyone to question why he's there, so he put on his best—if not too impressive—cowboy hat and headed over to the Walker family abode. This definitely seems like a minor hat cameo, so I'm going to say it's on the more affordable end of The CW's prestige hat budget. 

The Background Actors' Many, Many Ten-Gallon Hats

Estimated Price: $10,000

Seeing as every third person is wearing a fancy and expensive looking hat, I'm assuming this part of the budget was high! Honestly, if they had channeled just a bit more of this money into the script or even some market research on whether this show was wanted in 2021, they could have saved a lot more money. But we would have also had a lot less hats on our screens. 

Total Walker pilot hat budget: $17,700 

That's a whole lotta hats, baby. 

Walker airs on The CW, Thursday nights at 7/8 central. 

Rosie Knight

Rosie Knight is an Eisner-winning journalist and author who's been writing professionally since 2005. Her career has taken her around the world and, although she hails from London, she currently resides in Los Angeles where she writes full time. She began as a professional poet but transitioned into journalism, starting at the Eisner-winning WWAC in 2016. Since then she has written over 1500 articles for digital media sites including What to Watch, Nerdist, IGN, The Hollywood Reporter, Esquire, Den of Geek, DC Comics, /Film, BuzzFeed, and Refinery29. She also writes comics including The Haunted High Tops and Cougar and Cub. When she's not writing she spends far too much time watching horror movies and Hallmark films.