Edit ModuleShow Tags

What it Takes to Win the Hat Contest

Chris Banner of Valley Center gives us a breakdown of his grand prize-winning topper from last year’s One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest.


“I love Opening Day. You get to dress up and be crazy. I walk around in the courtyard. I’ve never gotten a seat. What’s the point of betting if you always lose? The only thing I win at is winning the hats!”

“It weighs at least 10 pounds. By the end of the day your neck’s pretty jacked up.”

“You gotta hold the hat with one hand and the remote with your other hand.”

“Advice? Go large and creative and,
like I said, DO something that’s different!”

“It takes about a month to make.”

“I do fire prevention. Avocado grove management, weed control. I have three tractors and I’ve been doing it for 17 years.”

“Foam is lightweight. You can heat it up, shrink it, and cut it with a heat knife. I have a foam lady down in San Marcos who cuts my shapes out.”

“You’ve got to mount a biker helmet inside of it. Then you get different fabrics and mount stuff to that. Use a blueprint? Let’s just say I wing it.”

“I love costumes. Every day is Halloween for me.”

“I had an idea to do a remote-control helicopter and have someone in the audience land it on my head. Nobody can use it; that’s my idea.”

“You’ve gotta have a moving part. That’s pretty important. I wanted a racetrack. I went to AmVets and bought a remote-control Barbie car. I cut the car in half and mounted it sideways inside a hole in the foam. The remote goes forward and reverse. When I pushed it, the big block of foam would spin like a racetrack. I’d yell, ‘And away they go…!’”

“I won a couple of plane tickets [two American Airlines travel vouchers good for the continental U.S.]. But I don’t like to fly.”


More: Del Mar, Decoded

Horse Betting 101
What to say at the betting window »

6 Things You Didn’t Know About the Races
A little insider knowledge »

Special Events
The 2014 season runs July 17-September 3 »

Watchful Eyes
Stewards scrutinize the jockeys and horses »

How a Horse Knows to Run
What makes horses “break,” or jump out of the gate »

What's in a Name
How horses get those unique monikers »


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

‘Angels in America’ Is the Best Thing I’ve Seen So Far This Year

Cygnet Theatre proves that the two-part epic is as awesome and resonant today as it was in 1993

Event Photos: Creating Legends Gala

Photos from the event at the Hotel del Coronado on October 13, 2018

Event Photos: San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival

Photos from the event on November 11–18, 2018
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote Now for San Diego's Best Restaurants 2019
    From pho to fries, you can choose San Diego's best eats and drinks in 99 categories
  2. Puesto's Next Top Taco
    Submit your best taco recipe for the chance to win a grand prize
  3. Best Restaurants in San Diego: 2018
    San Diego's top restaurant owners, chefs, and bartenders name their favorite San Diego restaurants of 2018.
  4. The Best Soup Dumplings in San Diego
    My hunt for the best xiao long bao in the city unearthed two surprising winners
  5. Behind the Brands 2019
  6. 21 Ultimate Road Trip Itineraries from San Diego
    These getaways will take you through California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Mexico
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Puesto's Next Top Taco

Submit your best taco recipe for the chance to win a grand prize

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags


Shaping San Diego 2019

San Diego is a premier catalyst for innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurialism

Win a Trip for Two to Yellowstone Country Montana

Win a trip for two to Montana’s Paradise Valley, including roundtrip airfare on JetBlue from Long Beach to Bozeman, staying at Sage Lodge in Pray.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags