With 78th annual Santa Maria Elks Lodge Rodeo coming up, local non-profits are getting ready for the 2021 Elks Rodeo Queen Contest.
The rodeo queen candidates celebrated their campaigns Saturday night at the Queen Kickoff and Auction Dinner held at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge.
"It's been going really good, the community's been so supportive, my school's been so supportive, so it's been a really great experience," said contestant Avery Nelson.
The kickoff dinner featured a live auction and a traditional Santa Maria-style meal prepared by the famous Elks BBQ team. All funds raised by the contest go to various youth recreation programs within the community. Since it began, the contest has raised and distributed over $14 million.
"All of these organizations very much look forward to this because it's one of the biggest sources of funds for their year," said Rodeo Queen Contest chairman Peter Sterling.
This year's Elks Rodeo will be held Sept. 2 through Sept. 5.