Thursday, September 21 , 2017, 10:28 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Spirit of Santa Maria Award Goes To Elks Lodge, Rodeo Organizers

City Council presents the honor, which was chosen by the Recreation and Parks Commission

The Santa Maria Elks Lodge and Elk Recreation were presented with the Spirit of Santa Maria Award on Tuesday night. Pictured, from left, are Rebecca Carey and Greg Burtnett, Elks Rec’s Scott Parsons and Mayor Alice Patino. Click to view larger
The Santa Maria Elks Lodge and Elk Recreation were presented with the Spirit of Santa Maria Award on Tuesday night. Pictured, from left, are Rebecca Carey and Greg Burtnett, Elks Rec’s Scott Parsons and Mayor Alice Patino. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

An organization that has raised millions of dollars for youths, veterans and others in Santa Maria through its assorted fundraisers and annual rodeo captured the Spirit of Santa Maria Award.

The City Council presented awards to the Santa Maria Elks Lodge and Elks Recreation on Tuesday night. The Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Commission selected the recipients in July from community nominations.

“Tonight we have a great group of individuals who for years have provided service to the community,” Recreation and Parks Director Alex Posada said. “I don’t think there’s another group in the community that can stand up to their record.” 

Exalted Ruler Tony Dart accepted the award on behalf of the lodge while Scott Parsons from Elk Rec, which organizes the annual rodeo, received the award for that group. 

Dart said the organization’ boasts more than 3,000 members — with another 30 expected to join by the end of the month — and “will always be here to support the city of Santa Maria.”  

In early June, Elks Recreation wrapped up the the 2017 rodeo, which put Santa Maria on the national stage. The local rodeo was a stop on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Champions Challenge Tour, aired on the CBS Sports Network. Wrangler Network also broadcast some of the rodeo action.

Parsons thanks the city for the honor. 

“We have worked so hard for many many years. This year, as all of you know, was the hardest,” he said. “There was countless hours that a lot of us put in.”

He shared about seeing Santa Maria listed among the five stops on the PRCA Champions Challenge Tour and the national coverage it brought the event.

“First time we’ve ever been broadcast nationally so that was huge for our city and our local rodeo here in town,” Parsons said. “I can’t thank everybody enough for our volunteers, over 400 volunteers. We had businesses that supported us and helped out out there.

Elks Exalted Ruler Tony Dart speaks after accepting the Spirit of Santa Maria Award on behalf of the lodge. Click to view larger
Elks Exalted Ruler Tony Dart speaks after accepting the Spirit of Santa Maria Award on behalf of the lodge.  (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“It’s a big thank you to everyone,” he added. 

Parsons also noted Phil Harwick, who was unable to attend Tuesday night’s meeting, had led efforts to rebuild the rodeo over the past four years. 

“We’re at the top of the top,” Parsons said.

The Elks Rodeo is gearing up for its 75th event set for May 31 through June 3, 2018.

“I would certainly like to say thank you to all the Elks and what the Elks have done over the years,” Mayor Alice Patino said, noting the organization has always been there for the youth of the community.  

Councilman Mike Cordero, who is an officer for the Elks, said he previously did not understand the work involved. Even as the 2017 rodeo occurred, Elks Rec representatives had started working on the 2018 version, he added.

“That’s how much they work on it. That’s how hard it is,” Cordero added. “That’s how much effort they put forth. It’s not a four-day event. It’s a year-long event. And it never stops.”

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.

Tina Tonascia from Santa Maria Elks Recreation records Scott Parsons speaking to the Santa Maria City Council after accepting the Spirit of Santa Maria Award on Tuesday night. Click to view larger
Tina Tonascia from Santa Maria Elks Recreation records Scott Parsons speaking to the Santa Maria City Council after accepting the Spirit of Santa Maria Award on Tuesday night.  (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
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