Displaying their patriotic colors, hundreds of participants rode, walked and marched along Broadway for the 73rd anniversary Santa Maria Elks Rodeo Parade on Saturday morning.
More than 140 entries participated in the parade, held as part of the four-day Elks Rodeo weekend.
This year’s theme was “Patriotism — Red, White and Blue,” with several float riders decked out in colorful attire as they traveled south on Broadway between Mill Street and Enos Drive.
Thousands of people lined Broadway, waving at participants traveling along the route for nearly three hours.
Sitting under a parasol with her dog, Lacey, Mary Limon said she attended each parade with her family. Two daughters served as Elks Rodeo Queen candidates in the past, she added.
“It’s a tradition for us to come,” Limon added.
She and her committee raised $153,655, more than the other three candidates combined.
This year’s total of $276,000 pushed the the amount of money raised over the decades by the queen contest to $11.2 million.
The money goes toward youth recreation and other youth programs.
Also appearing in parade she first rode in as a 4-year-old was this year’s grand marshal, Joni Gray, who served on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors for many years and is a retired teacher.
Honorary grand marshal was Bob Torres while Drew Ardouin was junior grand marshal.
After the parade, parade chairman Tim Murphy said the awards handed out were:
» Sweepstakes for best overall float to Premier Auto Body.
» Grand Sweepstakes for best musical unit to the Santa Maria High School Saints Marching Band.
» Mayor’s Trophy for best community entry to the Santa Maria Model A Club.
» Bobby Acquistapace Memorial Trophy for best mounted group to Vallarta Supermarket Charros.
» Chairman’s Choice for best youth float to Santa Maria Youth Football.
No award was given for the Exalted Ruler’s Trophy, which recognizes the most outstanding equestrian individual.
The Santa Maria Elks Rodeo continues through Sunday. Saturday’s performance starts at 6 p.m. while Sunday’s begins at 2 p.m. at the Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center where assorted other activities also are scheduled.