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Santa Maria Kiwanis give $57,825 in scholarships to Elks Rodeo Queen candidates

SM Kiwanis Queen Candidates
Santa Maria Noontime Kiwanis present its three past Santa Maria Elks Rodeo Queen candidates with scholarships totaling $57,000 (Dave Alley/KEYT)

SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- There were plenty of smiles inside the Minami Center Thursday afternoon, where scholarship checks from the Santa Maria Noontime Kiwanis were presented to all three of club's past Santa Maria Elks Rodeo Queen candidates.

"We decided to do a presentation for all three girls just to show the community that we appreciate what they've done for us," said Kiwanian Jaime Flores. "We couldn't do this without the support of community, our sponsors and all of our volunteers."

The service club has sponsored a queen candidate since 2017.

During those three years, the queen candidate campaign has raised $643,000.

At Thursday's meeting, each of the women who represented the club over the three years were given a generous scholarship.

The money given to each candidate was a portion of the funds they helped raised during their campaign.

This year's queen candidate was Brianna Thompson of Nipomo, who helped raise $271,000.

For her efforts, she was given a check for $30,325.

"I'm so thankful and so grateful that they have helped me with college," said Thompson. "I'm so very thankful that I have incredible people to stand behind me on this journey that I'll be going on," said Thompson.

Thompson is now studying nursing at Allan Hancock College and is hoping to transfer to Montana State.

"This college fund will really help me out and help alleviate any stress that I may have financially, so I'm really excited," said Thompson.

Molina Gonzales, who was the first Kiwanis queen candidate in 2017, was given $$7,500 scholarship, while 2018 candidate Makana Mahelona received $20,000.

The combined amount the Kiwanis gave to its three queen candidates is $57,825.

"They are the face of our organization throughout the campaign and really the funds come in through their efforts and their family's efforts, all of our volunteers, all of our sponsors that are out there supporting our campaign and our organization," said Flores. "We couldn't do it without all of their help."

While the Kiwanis were thanking their past candidates, the group is already looking ahead to next year.

"We're excited to be doing our fourth year," Flores said. "We are entering into the campaign. We have a great crew and big thanks to everyone who has supported us."

The 2020 Santa Maria Elks Rodeo will be held May 28-31.

Article Topic Follows: Community
elks rodeo
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Dave Alley

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