​"You can tell by lookin...it came from The Cow Lot."  - Nat Fleming, Founder 1952

When KFDX went on the air 60 years ago this year, all programs were black and white, the local commercials were all live and you had to fiddle and adjust your knobs to even get a viewable picture.

In that first year it is no surprise Nat Fleming, who is always quick with a good joke, found success in his own variety show.

From those early TV days to the thousands of custom fit cowboy hats sold AT THE Cowlot Nat Fleming has truly shown his Spirit of Texoma.

Nat Fleming says, "I just missed the horse and buggy days by a few years, I really did.  I was born in 1921."

Nat Fleming got his first taste talking to the public and entertaining in 1947 as a rodeo announcer.

Tawana Fleming says, "There's a rodeo!" 

Nat says, "Look at that hat!"

He had already begun a career in radio when KFDX first hit the airwaves in 1953.

Nat: "They'd except anything in the World that was live.  That's why they invited me out.  I was what they called a live version."

Nat says his invitation to Channel 3 came from President and General Manager Darrold Cannon, Sr. 60 years ago.

Tawana: "Very few people had TV's back then, very few."

Nat: "They would meet in someone's house."

That's why Nat's Mom would walk nearly a mile to his brother's house to catch the show each night.

Nat: "I was very aware of that and right at the end it just came out, I said "bye Mom" and I ended all the shows that way."

There was really something for everyone on the Nat Fleming Show, good laughs and live music.

Nat: "I always tell people I had the best band to ever hit this area, I could say that because I didn't play an instrument."

Nat says the show was pure country and offered a stage where just about anything could happen.

Nat: "None of it was planned, as far as we were concerned...this fell in place that fell in place.  I've had the opportunity of meeting a lot of people and I appreciate that more than anything."

He also very much appreciates how television helped him get his family's store open for business.

Nat: "They let people know where it was, what it was and it was the greatest little stores in the whole World and if you didn't believe it you could ask any of us."
Tawana: "I was riding barrells and a couple of friends of mine came over the Wichita Falls for the weekend and I needed a new pair of jeans and I stopped in to get a new pair of jeans and he didn't have any that fit me they were too long...and everything...but he was in such need for the money he sold them anyway...laughing... and I was dumb enough to buy them I guess."

She's been telling that story ever since they met in 1952.

The couple would go on to put just the right crease in quite a few cowboy hats in their over fifty years of serving customers at the Cowlot.

Over all those decades hundreds of cowboys and friends would hang their hats from rafters there and generations to come will be able to enjoy Nat's hats at the Museum of North Texas History not too far from where the Cowlot once stood.

The spirit he put into his business and TV show still stands too, a cowboy spirit that fits Texoma so well, just like his hats and boots did for nearly 92 years now.

Nat is a member of the Texas Bootfitters Hall of Fame.


He always voiced his own ads and can still recite his commericial to this day.

Nat: "I'm Nat Fleming from the Cowlot.  Did you ever look at an old boys hat and wonder where he got it and why?  Did you ever look at his boots and wonder where he got them and why?  I am kind of glad by looking you can tell if it came from the cowlot."

The store offered Nat far more than a career in western wear, it's where he fell in love with his wife Tawana.

The best fit: Nat Fleming helped make Western music a hit 
BY PIONEER SENTINEL ON MAY 9, 2012FEATURES

The Cow Lot is closing after 54 years.


July 2, 2006 Jennifer June

Wichita Falls Times an Record News

Sad, but true. The landmark Wichita Falls (TX) store will be closing this month. You can read the details here in the local Times Record News story. Beginning on July 5th, Cow Lot will begin selling off the store’s entire inventory. (Map)

The Cow Lot has always been a destination spot for the “hard-to-fit.” Owner Nat Fleming typically carried more than 80 sizes/widths of cowboy boots. Narrow…wide…long or short…someone would bring out box after box until the right pair was found.- 


​So many family run western wear stores seem as if they’ve been caught in an awful time warp, many flat-out refusing to give up on those late 80’s urban cowboy leftovers, still on their racks.

But, this wasn’t the case with the Cow Lot. They maintained a healthy stock of classic cowboy boots, and tried their best to keep up with all the newest styles. Many folks made a special trip to Wichita Falls simply for the selection of Rios of Mercedes boots and the customer service they’d find at the Cow Lot.

The Cow Lot will be greatly missed.

Store Location: 1200 E Scott Ave, Wichita Falls, 76301 – (940) 767-3255 (Map)- See more at: http://dimlights.com/2006/07/the-cow-lot-is-closing-after-54-years/#sthash.MvL2XL48.dpuf

The best fit: Nat Fleming helped make Western music a hit 
BY PIONEER SENTINEL ON MAY 9, 2012FEATURES

Cowtown Society of Western Music Hall of Fame inductee Nat Fleming, where he is most comfortable. (Courtesy photo)By Kathy Floyd
Pioneer Sentinel

Nat Fleming would be the first one to tell you that he doesn’t mind the spotlight. The Byers native has been behind the microphone hundreds of times announcing rodeos, hosting television and radio shows, leading his country and western band, emceeing events and handing out tributes to others. But the boot was on the other foot May 5 when he was honored by the Cowtown Society of Western Music during its 14th Annual Swing Fest.

“I’m usually the master of ceremonies at these things,” Fleming said. “I’m not used to honors bestowed on me. I like to see others get them.”

For his contributions to western music in the North Texas area, the CSWM chose Fleming as one of 13 to be inducted as a Living Hero in a daylong celebration of western music at the Holiday Hills Country Club in Mineral Wells.

Fleming is well known in North Texas and beyond for more than 50 years of announcing rodeos, including the Clay County Pioneer Reunion. He is well known for owning the Cow Lot western wear store and he made a name for himself in the boot business for his knack of finding the best fit for his customers. His boot savvy made him a frequent guest of country greats such as Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams Sr., Little Jimmy Dickens and others in Nashville.

But it is for his contributions to popularizing country and western music in North Texas through television and radio that the CSWM decided to honor Fleming as a Living Hero. Larry Lange, vice president of the CSWM, said the group of approximately 1,000 members wanted to make sure that those from this part of the country get the proper recognition for contributing to the popularity of country and western music.

“His induction as a Living Hero was for his involvement in western music and broadcasting and getting it all started in Wichita Falls,” Lange said. “He’s been an inspiration to many of the musicians playing here today. We just wanted to honor him for his talents and abilities.”

Fleming is in good company. Past honorees of the group include Bob Wills, Merle Haggard and North Texan Eddie McAlvain.

Fleming hosted “The Nat Fleming Show,” a 30-minute television show Monday-Friday on KFDX from 1953 until the early 1960s. On the show, Fleming’s band of Pee Wee Stewart, Elmer Lawrence, Buck White, Pappy Stapp and Tommy Bruce would play popular country-western songs. Fleming and Lawrence are still close.

Then Saturday mornings, Fleming broadcast the “Horn Honkin’ Show” live from The Cow Lot on KNIN radio. Fleming would shoot the breeze with customers and those who drove to the Cow Lot just to chat, play country music records and give doses of Fleming wisdom.

“I think more people remember me for that than anything,” Fleming said. “I still have people come up to me and talk about the radio show.”

The CSWM presented Fleming with a plaque, medallion and a proclamation signed by Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Fleming graduated from Byers High School in 1938 after attending the Valentine School between Charlie and Byers. He and his wife of 56 years, Tawana, live near Byers. He will be 91 June 30.

This is not Fleming’s first musical honor. In 2001, he was given the “Legends of Western Swing, Entertainer” honor at the Legends of Western Swing Festival. That did not make him any more comfortable receiving the CSWM honor.

“I don’t receive honors well,” he said. “If I’ve made others happy, that was enough.”

Mary G. RamosPublished: 27 July 2010 10:52 AM
Updated: 18 January 2011 08:07 PM

This place has cowboy hats everywhere you look. At least 500 hats - 10-gallon and otherwise - from working cowhands are on display at the Museum of North Texas History in Wichita Falls.

The toppers are from the collection of Nat Fleming, who owned the Cow Lot Western Wear Store in Wichita Falls from 1953 to 2006. When you bought a new hat, Nat added your old one to his wall.

The hats share the museum with a horse-drawn buggy, some replicas of storefronts, a barbed-wire collection and a jewelry box made from the hoof of a stolen horse that was used in the robbery of the City National Bank in 1898. Military uniforms and memorabilia fill six rooms.Type your paragraph here.

NAT"S HATS The Museum of North Texas History ​Address: 720 Indiana Ave, Wichita Falls, TX 76301
Phone:(940) 322-7628

Nat Fleming, Founder

The Cow Lot, made famous by founder Fleming, was in operation 
54 years before closing in December 2006.Fleming, who retired to
his farm in Clay County between Petrolia and Byers, said the original
portion of the building was constructed in 1952."Melvin Bills,
who lived nearby, built it and rented it to me for $100 a month,
" Fleming recalled. "It was 24-by-48-feet …the original building.
I bought it from Mr. and Mrs. Bills not many years later. We were
there 54-1/2 years."Fleming said he is still sentimental about the
old building — and especially the weather-worn sign (originally neon) that has stood out front for years.Those who have traveled East Scott, especially during the highway's heyday, may remember that it towered between the building and the roadway. The sign featured a smiling, bow-legged cowboy with his hands in his pockets. A sign over his cowboy hat read "The Cow Lot." An arrow pointed toward his boots, and underneath it boasted "Everything in Western Wear.""I kept the sign," Fleming said. "I'm going to put it up at our barn just like it was at the store. We're going to move it in the next few days. I wouldn't take for that old sign."He also stressed that he misses all of the loyal customers he made over the years."I really do miss the people. I looked forward to seeing them. Since we fit hard-to-fit feet, people drove in from a long ways. And we were known for creasing hats. I was the sorriest at creasing, but I was blessed with good people."Many rodeo fans also will remember that Fleming was a rodeo announcer, too, for 50 years."My first rodeo was at Post, Texas. I announced all over the Southwest," he said.Fleming collected old hats from cowboys and businessmen over the decades — and the number reached 511 when the doors closed. The hats were donated by ranchers, roustabouts, rodeo cowboys, oil barons and farmers when they stopped at the Western wear store to buy a new one.A 2006 article in the Times Record News said the collection included hats from city father Joe Bridwell, ranchers Bryant Edwards, Joe Parker, Carter McGregor, Bucky Wharton (Waggoner Ranch), as well as cowboy movie star Gene Autry.The collection of hats was donated by Fleming and his wife Tawana to the Museum of North Texas History."The museum is putting in a Western room that the hats will be in," Fleming said. "It (room) will be so nice."Business Editor Lee Anderson may be reached from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at (940) 763-7533, or by e-mail at andersonl(at)TimesRecordNews.com

When KFDX TV in Wichita Falls, Texas went on the air 60 years ago this year, all programs were black and white, the local commercials were all live and you had to fiddle and adjust your knobs to even get a viewable picture.

In that first year it is no surprise Nat Fleming, who is always quick with a good joke, found success in his own variety show.

From those early TV days to the thousands of custom fit cowboy hats sold AT THE Cowlot Nat Fleming has truly shown his Spirit of Texoma.

Nat Fleming says, "I just missed the horse and buggy days by a few years, I really did.  I was born in 1921."

Nat Fleming got his first taste talking to the public and entertaining in 1947 as a rodeo announcer.

He had already begun a career in radio when KFDX first hit the airwaves in 1953.

Nat: "They'd except anything in the World that was live.  That's why they invited me out.  I was what they called a live version."

Nat says his invitation to Channel 3 came from President and General Manager Darrold Cannon, Sr. 60 years ago.

Tawana: "Very few people had TV's back then, very few."

Nat: "They would meet in someone's house."

That's why Nat's Mom would walk nearly a mile to his brother's house to catch the show each night.

Nat: "I was very aware of that and right at the end it just came out, I said "bye Mom" and I ended all the shows that way."

There was really something for everyone on the Nat Fleming Show, good laughs and live music.

Nat: "I always tell people I had the best band to ever hit this area, I could say that because I didn't play an instrument."

Nat says the show was pure country and offered a stage where just about anything could happen.

Nat: "None of it was planned, as far as we were concerned...this fell in place that fell in place.  I've had the opportunity of meeting a lot of people and I appreciate that more than anything."

He also very much appreciates how television helped him get his family's store open for business.

Nat: "They let people know where it was, what it was and it was the greatest little stores in the whole World and if you didn't believe it you could ask any of us."
Tawana: "I was riding barrells and a couple of friends of mine came over the Wichita Falls for the weekend and I needed a new pair of jeans and I stopped in to get a new pair of jeans and he didn't have any that fit me they were too long...and everything...but he was in such need for the money he sold them anyway...laughing... and I was dumb enough to buy them I guess."

She's been telling that story ever since they met in 1952.

The couple would go on to put just the right crease in quite a few cowboy hats in their over fifty years of serving customers at the Cowlot.

Over all those decades hundreds of cowboys and friends would hang their hats from rafters there and generations to come will be able to enjoy Nat's hats at the Museum of North Texas History not too far from where the Cowlot once stood.

The spirit he put into his business and TV show still stands too, a cowboy spirit that fits Texoma so well, just like his hats and boots did for nearly 92 years now.

Nat is a member of the Texas Bootfitters Hall of Fame.


He always voiced his own ads and can still recite his commericial to this day.

Nat: "I'm Nat Fleming from the Cowlot.  Did you ever look at an old boys hat and wonder where he got it and why?  Did you ever look at his boots and wonder where he got them and why?  I am kind of glad by looking you can tell if it came from the cowlot."

The store offered Nat far more than a career in western wear, it's where he fell in love with his wife Tawana.Type your paragraph here.