Accessory Shop Plays to Rodeo Crowd

By Beacon Staff

In the back roads west of Whitefish, East Edgewood Drive runs to the Blue Moon through several old family ranches. Horse and cow pastures line the road. Bleachers even ring a few small rodeo arenas. Now just at the west entrance to Edgewood, a cowboy shop is ready to play to its rodeo crowd.

Walk into the corner house of Spanky’s and Gus for the sensual smell of leather. Sandra Guzman’s shop, which opened late last month, specializes in cowboy accessories. But Spanky’s is not a new shop; it first grew in Eureka. Guzman, who titles herself on her business card “The Mother,” uses a family name for the shop. Her partner is Gus, her six-year-old son named after four “Augustus” generations.

For a small space, Guzman packs in the colorful inventory. Silver belt buckles, cowboy boots and hats, belts, hand-tooled leather bags, wallets, jewelry, and tack. “I want to focus mostly on the local rodeo community,” says Guzman, noting that she carries no clothing—only accessories.

In Eureka, Guzman owned a toy store, but in 2002 switched over to cowboy accessories. It garnered a loyal local clientele. When her father on the east coast died, she closed the shop to go help her mother sell the house. After she returned to Northwest Montana, the Whitefish location where the Piggyback BBQ used to be tumbled into her hands. “I like being on the outskirts of town,” says Guzman.

Starting in early summer, she set up the store alone, since her young partner had serious playing to do. She moved in product, mowed the grass, and gardened. She and her mother hand-painted the shop signs.

The shop opens 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays. “For now,” she notes, adding that hours may adjust through the winter.

She’s hoping word of mouth will carry Spanky’s through the rodeo community. After all, every cowboy needs a gleaming buckle to set off his Wranglers.