Now that I'm reclaiming a few pages for the third edition of "The Illustrated Life & Times of Billy the Kid," I have returned to the image of the Kid wearing a sugarloaf sombrero. The reference comes from Pat Garrett, himself, who claimed, in his 1882 book, that the lawmen got wind Billy was reported to be wearing a Mexican sugarloaf with a green hatband. This was during the December, 1880 manhunt, and, unfortunately, Garrett's posse shot Charlie Bowdre who was wearing the same exact hat (or, he borrowed Billy's to go feed the horses at Stinking Springs).
Anyway, I wasn't happy with my previous version of Billy wearing the sugarloaf, so this morning I did this new one:
Now some have questioned whether this style was popular at the time the Kid rode, and that the sugarloafs we celebrate came into prominence during the Mexican Revolution, c. 1914-17, but I have found a photo from pretty close to Billy's time, taken in Old Mexico that seems to confirm the style was probably concurrent with the Lincoln County War period.
Garrett claimed the Kid got his headgear from hats made in Chihuahua and brought up the Santa Fe Trail to New Mexico. So I think it's safe to say the Kid may have bought and preferred a sugarloaf sombrero, although it doesn't explain the crappy slouch hat he's wearing in his only known photograph.