C.J. Landers’ Interests are Diverse, but His Goals are Clear

Student, script writer, cowboy action shooter, entrepreneur, C.J. Landers is a busy guy with a passion for life.

Cowboy action shooting is a competitive shooting contest.

Landers started college here at State following his graduation from high school. Like most young students, he had no idea what he wanted to do, but a degree of some kind was surely in his future.

Over the past few years, Landers has made a name for himself in several areas

“I fell into communications as a major,” he said.

Landers had taken most of his core classes and was at a point where he needed to pick a major. Wanting to be a writer, he considered becoming an English major, but he soon to found out he wasn’t thrilled with the requirements. He looked for an alternative.

He found script writing and film making in State’s Communications Department, and he hasn’t looked back since.

“I have had a passion for film my entire life, and only in college did I realize my dream of becoming a screenwriter,” Landers said.

Landers has been a cowboy action shooter for many years, taking home the state championship twice and placing well or winning regional events every year. During that time, he developed a new passion for hats but not just any hats – custom hats.

“They could be anywhere from $300, $500,” Landers said.

In the cowboy action shooting world, custom hats can be very expensive.

“When my want outweighed my means, I found a new way to continue to grow my collection,” he said.

Landers found he could restore vintage cowboy hats for a fraction of the cost of a new hat. His only obstacle was a steaming machine to reshape the old vintage hats. But he got a job working with his father, and he used his first full paycheck to buy a steaming machine that started him down the road to owning his own business.

Soon after, he added some reshaped vintage hats to his collection and wore them in competition. Other competitors and friends started to ask Landers about C.J. his hats.

“I would tell people I had been making them, and they would reply, “You need to start selling them,’” Landers said.

Maverick’s Custom Hats & Restorations was born. Landers said he is still just a small one-man operation, but hats with his name on them are all over the world.

Landers has been working on several projects over his time at State. He said he has scripts in three competitions, and all are getting great reviews, He also is in the process of finishing up a script for an eight-episode TV series.

Landers is clear about how he stays motivated.

“The biggest thing is that I am in a different place,” he said. “You have to prioritize and work on yourself. Going out and partying can be fun for that night, but what did you do for yourself?”

He went on to say, “People in this state seem to believe they are stuck or that they can’t do anything better for themselves. Not me. I know there is something better out there for me.”

When asked what he thought was the best advice he could give or was ever given, he said “You do not have to know what to do with the rest of your life at 20 years old. But you do have to know the right people to talk to, people who have worked or are working in the industry you want to be in.”

Landers plans to graduate with his degree in communications and move to Montana, where he is in talks to become an apprentice to a well-known hat maker while continuing to follow his dream of being a scriptwriter.

For more information or to contact Landers about Maverick’s Custom Hats & Restoration find C.J. at clanders3@wvstateu.edu or cjlanders53@gmail.com

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