Throughout the years, they have been called many names including slide ties, cowboy ties, gaucho ties and neck ropes. Although historians and enthusiasts cannot be sure exactly where the bolo got its start, we do know that some of the the cowboys of the southwest in the 1940s felt that the casual, rugged look of the bolo tie reflected their lifestyle well. Native American silversmiths in the area also took to the bolo tie, considering it an opportunity to express their individuality and creativity. These Native American artists are responsible for the bolo tie becoming a distinguished piece of fashion, particularly because of the beautiful stones, metals, and unique, intricate designs they used for the clasps.
The bolo tie was further popularized through its presence in TV, movies, and celebrity wear from the 1950s through the 1980s and has made a tremendous resurgence in the last several years. Arizona, and later New Mexico, even designated the bolo tie the official neckwear of the state.