"It just breaks my heart that I don't still have it," Bradford said. "I spent 26 years in the service. In one of my many moves, somewhere, someone stole that hat from me. That's how I lost my hat.
"I also lost my (Southwest) conference championship ring but not that way. My house was robbed back when I moved back to Fayetteville."
Bradford, who played offensive tackle and defensive guard for the Razorbacks in the '55 Cotton Bowl against Georgia Tech, said participating in the game was special.
Although Arkansas lost 14-6, Bradford still has fond memories, especially of receiving that Stetson.
"As we got off the plane we each had individual Cowboy hats, beautiful Stetson hats that had our name imprinted in it," Bradford said. "It was unbelievably nice."
Bradford was one of the "25 Little Pigs" who finished the 1954 season with an 8-2 regular-season record and SWC title.
Coached by Bowden Wyatt, the Razorbacks met a tough Georgia Tech team coached by Bobby Dodd. The Yellow Jackets featured halfback George Humphrey, who led a brutal ground attack which accounted for 293 yards rushing, including 285 in the final two quarters.
Georgia Tech also featured young assistant coach Frank Broyles, who would become Arkansas' coach in 1958.
Arkansas drove 80 yards in 11 plays to score its only touchdown in the second quarter. From there, it was all Georgia Tech. Humphrey, who finished with 99 yards on 19 carries, was named the game's most valuable back.
"We still played a good football game but when you don't come out victorious, it totally changes the picture of everything," Bradford said. "But you couldn't erase the experience we had. It was a great moment."
'55 Cotton Bowl Brings Bittersweet Moments
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Scout On the Road: SeptemberScout takes a look at some of the top prospects we saw in person during the month of September...
Scout FootballWednesday at 2:00 PM
Longhorns Preview Oklahoma StateTexas offensive players discuss the Longhorns' upcoming game at Oklahoma State to kickoff Big 12 Conference play.
Horns DigestMonday at 6:21 PM
Louisiana CB 'Real Close' to a DecisionIt may not be too long before one of the top cornerbacks in Louisiana makes his decision. Four schools are high on his list and you can get the latest here...
Scout FootballMonday at 6:15 AM
JC defensive back talks ISU official visitOver the weekend, Iowa State played host to one of their top 2017 targets in the current recruiting cycle in Paramount, CA three-star JUCO CB Keisean Nixon. This visit for the…
AllCyclonesSunday at 6:34 PM