HI HO SILVER, you're on!
Your point, "the headgear don't make the cowboy. Being a cowboy is what we do, how we live. Period," is well taken. However, just for a good cyber-fight to start the day, here goes.
You are absolutely right; clothes don't make the person. Take my following comments with several grains of salt, and also keep in mind I am not nearly as narrow-minded as it sometimes seems. You already have a great deal of my respect, because I can tell by your photographs that you have a wonderful herd of well-cared-for red-colored cattle.
Back to "head-gear", sometimes it seems like it corresponds with "attitude". Being a rancher takes a lot of hard work and a certain amount of ability. We have all heard the phrase, "he sure earned his spurs today." As ranchers and cowboys, if that is what we do for a living, we should be proud of the fact and dress accordingly. A western-style hat and cowboy-type boots (with a little manure on them) shows the world we are proud of what we do. We not only have "earned" the right to wear this type of apparel, but it is also our "duty" to do so. It is rather like voting, not only is it our privilege but it is also our civic duty. The world can be a better place because we take pride in what we do.
Several years ago, a Colorado cowboy wrote a little article in the WESTERN HORSEMAN magazine. He told that his calving pasture was right next to the interstate, and he had a little corral adjacent to the busy highway, where he would tag his calves. Whenever he was out working cattle on horseback, cars would always pull off to the side of the road and someone would take his picture. One fine spring day, absolutely no one stopped to take photographs. He was perplexed until he got back to the house and realized that he was wearing his baseball cap instead of his usual Stetson. Caps are just not part of the cowboy image.
On Friday of this past week, all of the Cody, Nebraska, FFA kids had an excused absence, and they and their instructor/sponsor all went to a branding. The rancher paid a sizeable amount to the FFA fundraiser if all these kids would help wrestle calves at his branding. My son is a good hand, but you would never know it to look at him. He dresses pretty incognito and cosmopolitan in his school clothes. A baseball cap and big ugly yellow lace-up work shoes accentuate his wardrobe. I kidded him as he was about to go out the door that he sure wouldn't get asked to rope being dressed like that. He stepped out into the cold wind, and decided he needed more clothes to wear. He completely started over on his dressing, and when he stepped outside the next time, he was wearing his Carhartt coat, chinks, and big black hat. I complimented him that he sure looked a lot more like a hand that I would want at my branding.
When he arrived home, I asked how the branding went. He smiled and said, "You were right, Dad. I was the only FFA kid out of the whole deal, besides the instructor who got to rope." Clothes do make a difference, sometimes.
P.S. There is nothing in the world wrong with a cap with ear-flappers. I wear one of these quite frequently myself.