The sound of cowbells ringing is often associated with Bobsled and Skeleton races, as well as many other Winter Olympic Sports.
So why do fans use cowbells at these sports to cheer on their favorite athletes? The short answer is that mittens don’t clap. Cowbells became the solution to this dilemma faced by Winter Sport spectators in the early 1900s, when ski racing first began, many athletes were actually farmers. Their cows, along with their sheep and goats, wore cowbells in the summer, but in the winter when the animals were put in the barn, the cowbells would just be hung up for use the next summer. Farmers would just grab the cowbells from the barn and use them to cheer on their friends and athletes during the race.
My friend, fellow Skeleton racer, and talented woodworker Dan Barefoot crafted these custom cowbell souvenirs for my biggest supporters. Dan said the idea was “to blend Southeast Asian and American cultures and materials into memorable gifts specific to this Olympic Quad.”