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Tuesday, December 18 , 2018, 5:39 pm | Fair 59º


Santa Maria Elks Rodeo Parade Sparkles in ‘Diamonds With Denim’

More than 100 entries saddle up for annual event accompanying PRCA Rodeo, including new Elks Rodeo Queen Kate Compton and Pryor Baird of The Voice


Inflatable diamonds and plenty of denim traveled through Santa Maria on Saturday morning for the annual Santa Maria Elks Rodeo Parade.

More than 115 entries participated in the PRCA Rodeo’s parade with the theme “Celebrating 75 Years of Diamonds in Denim.”

The rodeo is marking 75 years in 2018, although the parade started several years later.

Entries walked, marched and drove on Broadway between Mill Street and Enos Drive as thousands of spectators lined sidewalks along the route.

While past parades have dealt with morning marine layer making the route chilly, nothing but sunshine blessed Saturday’s procession.

The parade marked the first official appearance for 2018 Elks Rodeo Queen Kate Compton, who was crowned Friday night.

The win by Compton, a Nipomo High School student, means the crown stays with VTC Enterprises, whose candidates have now have ended the six-week fundraising campaigns at the top for five years in a row.

Compton and her sponsor raised $287,877 with Makana Mahelona, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Santa Maria, placing second with $246,068, rodeo spokeswoman Johnna Clark said.

This year’s queen and her princesses pushed the total raised by contestants and their sponsors through the years to more than $12.4 million for youth recreation and other programs.

Queen Contest chairman Peter Sterling, who stepped up to became Elks Recreation president after the death of former leader Phil Harwick, also rode in a place of honor as the grand marshal.

Star of the Parade Pryor Baird also participated in the procession, weeks after reaching the top eight on NBC’s reality singing competition show, The Voice.

Santa Barbara County Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino served as the honorary grand marshal.

This year’s parade remembered the late Supervisor Joni Gray, who died in November. The Orcutt native had decades of connections to the rodeo and parade, including riding in it as young girl, vying for rodeo queen and then serving as an announcer.

The Santa Maria Elks Rodeo, a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association series, began Thursday and wraps up with a 2 p.m. Sunday performance at the Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center, 4040 Highway 101.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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