Like Steve Prefontaine himself, this hat was designed for performance on and off the track.
Lightweight 'Ghost Performance' poly fabric for all-day comfort and breathability
Pre-Curved Active Visor for great visibility
Fully-adjustable strap back closure with performance velcro
Customized in Oregon, USA!
Most of you know that Cowbucker is lucky enough to call Eugene, Oregon home. Not to brag, but that puts us in pretty elite company: Sam Eliot (everyone’s favorite cowboy) has a place right outside of town, author Ken Kesey parked his psychedelic bus and called Eugene home, and Nike founder Phil Knight ran track at University of Oregon and started Nike out of the back of his car in Eugene. All of these are undoubtedly true legends, but the TRUE legend of Eugene is represented by only one guy:
Steve Prefontaine. If you don’t know Pre, it means you probably don’t run long distances, weren’t alive in the 1970’s, or have never set foot on the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field. Eugene’s Hayward Field is considered hallowed ground by pro and amateur runners alike, and has hosted more Olympic Combined Trials than any other track in the country.
It was on this track in July 1972 that Pre, a 21-year-old upstart from Coos Bay, Oregon, blew the Olympic Trial field away, setting the new American record in the 5,000 meters and solidifying his position as a legend of Track & Field.
The Pre mystique had been growing since the late 60’s, when he was winning meets and breaking records as a high schooler in the small coastal town of Coos Bay, Oregon. Considered “too small” and “too slow” by conventional running standards, Pre changed the face of running by refusing to conform to traditional tactics like “pacing” or “paying attention to the competition”. People had never seen anything like it before.
By the time of the ‘72 Olympic Trials, he had won 21 college meets in a row and done it with the grit and style that would become his trademark, breaking first and fast, keeping the competition at his heels with what appeared to be sheer force of will. Students at UO, inspired by his dominance and the popularity of “Go Pre” t-shirts worn by fans, created a “Stop Pre” t-shirt as a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement of the impossible. That shirt became synonymous with the legend of Pre himself when he wore it for his victory lap after smoking the competition that day in July.
The sky was the limit for Pre, and the running world couldn’t wait to see what he would do. He was loved not only for winning, but for his warmth, his sense of humor, and his ‘Oregonian’ toughness. He had the potential and the drive to be the best runner in the world, and everyone (including Pre) knew it. Like so many of our legends, however, we never got to see him reach the heights he was capable of. Just three years after the ‘72 Trials and only a few hours after winning yet another 5,000 meter race, Pre’s life was cut short when the car he was driving went off the road on his way home in Eugene.
By the end of his life in 1975, Pre would hold every American Record between 2,000 and 10,000 meters (that’s seven records for you non-runners), the last of which fell in 2012 to Galen Rupp, another Oregon runner. But the legend of Pre does not endure solely because of those records, but because of the way he broke them. Pre broke the mold of what it meant to be a great runner - he was a rebel in every sense of the word, not least of which because he knew he could do it even when everyone else told him he couldn’t.
In the end, we remember Pre for his heart, for the grit that Oregonians link back to that eponymous Trail, and for the person that he was both on and off the track. Pre’s spirit is part of the fabric here in Eugene, a living presence on campus and on the miles of trails running through and around our city - a little gritty, a little happy, and a little bit in your face.
For us here at Cowbucker, the legend of Pre reminds us to forget about what’s expected of us and just go after it. To create gear designed for Better Adventures™ - whatever Better Adventures™ means for you. To stay hungry, to obsess over the important stuff, and to cut loose once we’ve put in the work.
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