A barrel racer makes a turn during last year’s Santa Maria Elks Rodeo.
A barrel racer makes a turn during last year’s Santa Maria Elks Rodeo. Organizers announced Wednesday that the rodeo and parade are being postponed until the fall due to the coronavirus. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Organizers of the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo and Parade have postponed the annual June event, and hope to hold it in September.

On Wednesday, the Elks Recreation Inc. board of directors announced that “in the interest of our community and a comeback spirit,” the event will take place Sept. 24 to 27 due to concerns regarding COVID-19. 

“The health and safety of our volunteers, contestants, fans and staff is our top priority,” organizers said in a written statement. “Elks Recreation, Inc. remains committed to our sponsors, businesses, non-profit organizations, volunteers and fans safety and well-being and will continue to monitor the situation to ensure conditions will allow us to hold the 77th Annual Elks Rodeo & Parade safely on these newly announced dates.”

The 77th annual rodeo initially had been planned for May 28 to 31 at the Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center.

All Elks Rodeo-related activities will be rescheduled moving forward, including the Queen Contest campaign, which traditionally raises thousands of dollars for youth recreation and other youth activities. 

The decision to postpone the Elks Rodeo came less than three weeks before the traditional kickoff dinner to start the fundraising efforts in the race to win the crown.

The Elks Rodeo Parade now will take place at 9 a.m. Sept. 26 with entries traveling south on Broadway.  

The new schedule of events and related deadlines will be posted at the rodeo website, available by clicking here, in addition to any ongoing and updated information. 

“The Elks Recreation, Inc. Board of Directors would like to thank everyone for their continued support during this difficult time,” Elks Rec representatives said in a written statement.

“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,” Elks Rec representatives said. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.