SANTA MARIA, Calif. - It's time to break in those cowboy boots. The 71st Santa Maria Elks Rodeo kicks off tomorrow and will run through the weekend, bringing plenty of out-of-towners to the Central Coast.
"Oh my gosh, it's such a busy time," said Erin Gromfin of the Santta Maria Inn. "It's the hardest thing for us to do, but we have to turn people away. We just don't have the rooms."
Business for Santa Maria motels and hotels is booming. With summer approaching, that means the rodeo is riding into town. The 71st Santa Maria Elks Rodeo kicks off tomorrow, expecting to bring in thousands of visitors who will stay at local restaurants and hotels, boosting the local economy and city sales tax revenues.
The Santa Maria Inn expects its 164 rooms to be fully booked by the weekend.
"We're staffed to the gills, everybody that can work is working," said Gromfin.
The rodeo had it's best year ever last year in terms of attendance and cowboy participation. Organizers are hoping for the same trend this year.
The Santa Maria Visitor and Convention Bureau has been working to expand the diversity of the visitors that come to Santa Maria, especially for event such as this.
"Typically our market is San Francisco and Los Angeles," said Gina Keough, Visitors and Convention Bureau manager. "We're looking for hopefully some international visitors as well, we're marketing to the Australians and the Chinese visitors, UK market, Canadian market."