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Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County

Santa Maria Elks Rodeo on track to return in September

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – Everything is a "go" for one of the biggest and most popular events on the Central Coast.

After last year's rodeo was canceled due to the pandemic, there is growing excitement for it's return over Labor Day weekend.

The stadium grandstand is up and the arena groomed and ready for the return of the professional rodeo competition at the Elks Unocal Event Center. Organizers have been working closely with county and state public health agencies to ensure this year's event follows all current COVID-19 safety protocols.

There will be hand washing and sanitizing stations set up around the venue, but right now face masks are not required or mandated to enter the event center.

Local sponsors, vendors and businesses are eager for the rodeo's return.

"The Santa Maria Elks Rodeo and Parade really have become a Central Coast event. It is one of the largest events on the Central Coast, not just by the amount of people that attend, the amount of organizations and businesses that are involved, but of course what's dear to our heart is the amount of money raised for community nonprofits," said Elks Rodeo media director Johnna Clark.

Every year hundreds of thousands of dollars are raised for local nonprofits by the young women who compete in the rodeo queen contest. The rodeo queen kickoff dinner is this coming Saturday at the Elks Lodge in Santa Maria. That will be followed by other planned events leading up to the rodeo starting Sept. 2 and running through Sept. 5.

Tickets for the rodeo are available online on the Santa Maria Elks website. You can also get tickets for the Haunted Hills event in October which sold out last year.

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Keith Carls

Keith Carls is a reporter at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Keith, click here.

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