The 76th annual Santa Maria Elks Rodeo wrapped up this weekend, and organizers say the crowd at every rodeo performance was filled to capacity.
The Rodeo Queen contest raised a record amount of money for local organizations at more than $795,000.
Rodeo queen winner Nerissa Arellano raised $379,000 alone for VTC Enterprises.
Organizers say the rodeo plays an important role in the Santa Maria community because of the money it raises for youth in the community.
“We want to encourage the entire Central Coast non-profits. This is an opportunity for any non-profit to bring a queen candidate and use the eight weeks of rodeo as a vehicle to raise money,” said Johnna Clark, Santa Maria Elks Rodeo Media Director.
In the past 76 years, rodeo queens have raised more than $13 million for local groups.