Ahead of the 76th Annual Elks Rodeo and Parade, candidates for this year’s Elks Rodeo Queen have made their first public appearance.
This Saturday was the official Queen Kickoff and Auction Dinner held at the Santa Maria lodge.
The queen contest has been around since 1946 and was added as a way to give back to the community. Non-profit organizations select a girl that will represent them and raise funds.
This year, four organizations have signed up to begin fundraising for youth recreation programs. Those organizations include Kiwanis Club of Guadalupe, VTC Enterprises, Kiwanis of Santa Maria, and NSBC United WAy.
“The organizations each compete against each other for funds, and that’s what drives the fundraising and leads to the amount of money that they have raised,” said Peter Sterling, President of Elks Recreation.
The queen’s contest has raised and distributed more than $12 million for the community’s youth recreation program since it started. The Elks Rodeo & Parade is from May 30th to June 2nd.