Springsteen Super Bowl ad sparks debate: Can New Jerseyans wear cowboy hats?

Can people in the Northeast – in New Jersey in particular – wear cowboy hats?

News 12 Staff

Feb 11, 2021, 1:48 PM

Updated 1,221 days ago

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New Jersey rock icon Bruce Springsteen sparked an internet debate after his Super Bowl commercial for Jeep aired during the game.
In the ad, Springsteen delivers a message of uniting for a divided United States. But many people on Twitter were fixated with the fact that as a New Jersey native, he was wearing a cowboy hat.
“Take that damn cowboy hat off Bruce. You grew up in Jersey,” one Twitter user wrote.
The conversation surrounding the commercial brings up an interesting question: Can people in the Northeast – in New Jersey in particular – wear cowboy hats?
To settle the debate, News 12’s Brian Donohue visited Zane’s Western Apparel and Work Gear in Pilesgrove, Salem County. The shop sells a lot of cowboy hats to a lot of New Jerseyans.
“We get customers in here that are working here from out of town, and they are surprised to see we have the selection they might see in Texas in terms of boots and hats and jeans and things,” says Moya Nelson. “When people typically think of New Jersey, they don’t understand that South Jersey is more rural.”
Zane's was founded by the son of horse trader Addison Zane in 1971. Donohue says that the controversy surrounding Springsteen’s choice of headwear shows how little people from outside of New Jersey seem to know about New Jersey.
After purchasing his own cowboy hat, Donohue drove a few miles away to Cowtown Rodeo – the longest continuous running rodeo in the United States. The rodeo is typically open from May through September – and when it is open, many cowboy hats can be seen.
The Springsteen song “The River” was written about his sister, who married a rodeo rider named Mickey who used to ride at Cowtown. Springsteen himself has been spotted in the stands from time to time – probably in a cowboy hat.
Besides Zane’s, there are several western wear stores in the area around Cowtown. It's all more proof of Donohue's mantra that there's just almost no part of American life that one cannot find in New Jersey.


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