Roses & Raspberries: Royalty ready to rumble
Our View: Roses & Raspberries

Roses & Raspberries: Royalty ready to rumble

Year in and year out for the past three-quarters of a century — plus a couple of years — the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo has been one of this region’s premier events.

This year’s rodeo and queen contest had to take a time out, however, to accommodate the demands of COVID-19, which is a continuing problem worldwide.

The queen candidates usually are announced in April, with the rodeo firing up big crowds around this time of year.

Because of the virus, the 77th annual Elks Rodeo and Parade has been rescheduled for Sept. 24-27 at the Elks-Unocal Event Center. The Queen Kickoff & Auction will take place beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, and the young ladies’ campaigns will end with the crowning of a winner on Friday, Sept. 25.

The queen contest goes far beyond beauty. The young contestants spend weeks working to raise money for community organizations, mostly those providing a range of activities and services for local youth. Last year’s edition of the Elks Rodeo Queen contest raised a record $800,000 for charitable causes.

Given the nature of the contest, and its importance to North County community organizations, we can’t think of more worthy rose bouquet recipients than the contestants and their crews.

Let the contest begin.


A word to the wise — meaning sons and daughters of all ages — tomorrow is Father’s Day. 

These are strange times, and a lot of fathers have been home with their families for the past few months, weathering the coronavirus storm, doing their jobs remotely, and learning a lot about how life is when everyone’s stuck in the same place.

The personal finance website WalletHub has crunched the data on the best and worst states for working fathers, and California chimes in with very mixed results.

For example, we are next to best when it comes to life expectancy for males. However, we are next to last nationally with regard to the quality of available day care for children. California is 43rd overall for working dads.

Not the best outcome, but not the worst. Anyway, roses to the dads out there for staying the course.


It took a few weeks after the first phase of the coronavirus lockdown, but it finally became apparent that we missed watching live sports action.

The virtual car races were mildly interesting, except after awhile, when the action on the track was just round and round at extremely high, but fake speeds. Our attention was then drawn to the stands packed with spectators, who remained strangely seated, even as computer-generated race cars slammed into each other, some crashing wildly out of control.

Virtual anything is certainly clever, but it’s no substitute for the real thing, all of which makes us long for the return of normal, regular sporting events put on hold months ago by COVID-19’s relentless, deadly march through humanity.

The fall high school sports events are usually how the school year begins, but maybe not so much this year. Some districts are developing plans for starting football, but others are waiting to see what direction the coronavirus will take in the months ahead.

Keep your hopes for sports and roses in mind. Hope for the best.


At least physical fitness addicts may have some relief, as Santa Maria Valley YMCA officials have reopened to fitness seekers with what they call a "skinny start" during the pandemic.

The workouts will be singular, available by appointment only, with plenty of social distancing space available. Certain classes will be conducted outdoors.

Roses all around.


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