Even though the afternoon temperatures neared the century mark, a long Folsom tradition continued Wednesday evening as the City of Folsom gears up for Western Rodeo Days and the arrival of the Folsom Pro Rodeo next week as Handley’s Work and Western Wear hosted its annual thank you party and event for the many volunteers of the Folsom Pro Rodeo, an event that the local business has been involved with since day one.

Taking place in the parking lot of Handley’s longtime location on East Bidwell Street, the event took place in collaboration with the Folsom Pro Rodeo and Tonno’s Bar and Grill, adjacent to Handley’s. The even was an official volunteer T-shirt pick up location that offered much more. Visitors had the opportunity to enjoy live music by Folsom’s Bobby Dickson, enjoy food and beverages, visit with media from KNCI Country Radio, Folsom Times and take advantage of extra discounts on varieties of western wear, including official Folsom Pro Rodeo gear, an exclusive at Handley’s Western Wear.  The event also offered activities for little ones, who got to try their hand at roping and more. 


Handley’s was founded by family patriarchs Donella and Chet Handley. Rittenhouse and Spitler are two of five grandchildren and are proud of their family legacy. The western store appropriately opened its doors the same year the Folsom Pro Rodeo saw its first cowboys in competition in the city. 

Chet, who served in World War 2 and Donella, who was a bookkeeper at the time, decided to open a mercantile designed to serve “the working man,” at the time. From there, the rest is history and the tradition of serving community carries today.


Back in the day, Handley’s was what was known as a working man’s store, but through the years it has become one of the best-known western apparel stories in the region. The store serves both men and women, not only dressing them when the rodeo rolls around but all year long.

While the Folsom Pro Rodeo provided a boost of business for Handley’s each year, they continue to give back to the event when it rolls around as a longtime sponsor and the “go to” place for fans to get all their rodeo gear from the quality boots to the patriotic shirts and of course, the cowboy and cowgirl hats.


 “We have always been a sponsor and continue our grandparents tradition of sponsoring and also having a booth at the Folsom Rodeo,” said Spitler.“Rodeo is our favorite time of the year, we love getting all the community Rodeo ready with boots, hats, belts, buckles and Wranglers. It’s so much fun watching the Community join together and celebrate America together for 4th of July. We’ve been doing this for 63 years now and its still our favorite time of the year.”


When you walk into  Handley’s, you will also be greeted by a friendly welcome and a hello by staff. The layout and the appearance of the store hasn’t changed much through the years with merchandise well stocked from floor to ceiling and plenty of memorabilia collected over the decades on the walls and around the service counter. 

Personal service is still the top priority of the store. While many businesses have gone to point of sale computer systems, you can expect to still see sales being hand written at the counter here seven days a week, and the customers love everything about it.


“We have stayed in business for 63 years because of the this great community and support,” Spitller often says. “The Folsom Rodeo is one of the fun events that brings so many amazing people and families into our store around rodeo time. Truly the Folsom Rodeo brings the whole town and joining towns together.”

If you don’t get the opportunity to pay them a visit at their retail location of 314 East Bidwell Street, you can visit Handley’s Wear at their booth during all days of the upcoming Folsom Pro Rodeo  next week. You can also catch them in the Hometown Folsom Parade this Saturday and on the Folsom Times Parade Livestream, which is sponsored this year by Handley’s along with Bayside Church, Style Media Group, Bachhus House and the Folsom Historic District Association.

To learn more about Handley’s Western Wear, check out their website at www.handleysworkandwesternwear.com or just visit them at 314 East Bidwell St. in Folsom seven days a week. To keep up with news on the upcoming Folsom Pro Rodeo, check in with the Folsom Chamber of Commerce or visit www.folsomprorodeo.com.