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Wyoming Deputy Retires After Sheriff Bans Cowboy Hats And Boots

These boots are made for walkin', and that's just what they'll do.

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Old habits die hard, especially for Deputy Gene Bryson.

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Bryson, 70, retired from the Pinedale police department on Friday after 40 years in law enforcement when the Wyoming county's new sherrif banned his deputies from wearing cowboy hats and cowboy boots.

Bryson — who was used to wearing a brown cowboy hat, brown cowboy boots, and a leather vest — told the Casper Star Tribune the uniform ban is "kind of the reason I retired. I'm not going to change."

The dress code imposed by Sublette County Sheriff Stephen Haskell requires deputies to wear black trousers, a tan shirt, black boots, and a black ball cap. Haskell said cowboy boots are slippery on ice and the strong Wyoming winds can blow away cowboy hats.

"I'm very much for the Western way of life and the look. And that's the way I dress," Haskell said. "However, for a professional outfit … I like everybody to look the same. We are one team unified in one purpose. That is to do our job."

When reached by BuzzFeed News, Haskell said the dress code policy was in place from previous administrations and that he was simply enforcing the rules. He refused to comment further. Haskell has been sheriff of Sublette County since January 5.

Pinedale was named one of 2015's top 10 true Western towns by True West magazine.

Bryson, who as born and raised on a ranch in Montana said he refuses to let go of his Western look.

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"That's the way I dress," he said. "365 days out of the year."

He added that he wasn't willing to purchase the new required attire.

"I've had a cowboy hat on since 19," he said. "That's what looks good on me in the sheriff's department. It's Western. It's Wyoming."

Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Mary Ann Georgantopoulos at maryann.georgantopoulos@buzzfeed.com.

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