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Santa Maria Elks Rodeo postponed until September due to COVID-19

Santa Maria Elks Rodeo postponed until September due to COVID-19

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Grant Denny gets stuck and spun around on his horse in the bareback riding at the May 2019 edition of Santa Maria Elks Rodeo.

The 77th annual Elks Rodeo & Parade originally scheduled to kick off May 28 has been postponed until September because of continued concern over the COVID-19 emergency, the Elks Recreation Inc. Board of Directors announced Wednesday.

The announcement said “in the interest of our community and a comeback spirit,” Elks Rodeo events have been rescheduled for Sept. 24 to 27.

All Elks Rodeo-related activities will be rescheduled moving forward, including the queen contest campaign and the Elks Rodeo Parade, which is now set to roll down Broadway at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26.

Rodeo weekend traditionally starts Thursday morning with the Minetti Mini Rodeo, featuring local schoolchildren competing for championship buckles in front of an audience of over 6,000 local schoolchildren, mostly third graders from Goleta to Arroyo Grande, at the Elks Unocal Event Center off Santa Maria Way.

The professionals take over Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights before wrapping up with an afternoon matinee on Sunday.

Other events for locals include Miss Mini Rodeo, Miss Santa Maria Elks Rodeo, Junior Barrelman, Mutton Bustin’, Beard-A-Reno, Stick Horse Racing, Elks Team Roping, the Kids and Cowboys Golf Tournament, Central Coast Kids Got Talent and Sponsor Flag Tryouts.

The new events schedule will be posted at in addition to any ongoing and updated information, Tina Tonascia, Elks Recreation chief operations officer, said in a release sent out Wednesday.

She said the Elks Recreation Board of Directors ”would like to thank everyone for their continued support during this difficult time,” and the health and safety of volunteers, contestants, fans and staff is the organization’s top priority.

But Elks Recreation remains committed to its sponsors, businesses, nonprofit organizations, volunteers and fans’ safety and well-being and will continue monitoring the situation to ensure conditions will allow the Elks Rodeo & Parade to be held safely on the new dates.

“We send our thoughts, prayers and well wishes to those fighting COVID-19 and to those on the front lines, our heroic first responders and medical professionals. We salute you,” the release said.

For more information, contact Tonascia at 805-264-2463 or or Johnna Clark, Elks Rodeo media director, at 805-550-6482.

This report was compiled by Mike Hodgson, associate editor for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. He can be reached at

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