SANTA MARIA, Calif.- - The 75th annual Santa Maria Elks Rodeo is just around the corner. On Saturday, the 2018 Queen rodeo candidates made their debut at the traditional kick-off dinner held at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge.
“I'm representing Kiwanis club of Guadalupe," said 16 year-old candidate Carolina Lemus. "I am extremely honored and proud to be given this opportunity.”
The Kiwanis club in Santa Maria has a candidate too.
"I'm a senior at Righetti High School," said Makana Mahelona. "I'm excited for this opportunity.”
The daughter of San Luis Obispo County supervisor Lynn Compton is also competing for the Queen title.
“I'm running for VTC," said Kate Compton. "I'm so excited to be here and help the community out.”
17 year-old Hannah Maclean is just as excited.
“I'm running with Orcutt United Soccer League," said the Orcutt Academy High School senior. "I'm so excited to see what will come of this queen candidates campaign.”
For Seyenna Cavazos, 18, there's a lot of work to be done -but she's ready for the challenge.
"I'm running with United Way of northern Santa Barbara County," shared the St. Joseph High School senior. "I'm ready to show everyone what it takes to be an Elks Rodeo queen.”
Elks Rodeo long timers say it definitely takes a lot.
"The queens will be having a lot of events," said Elk of the year Wayne Stahl. "They'll be advertising all their events, raising a lot of money for all the organizations that they represent.”
Candidates have six weeks to raise the funds they need. Over the years, the event has raised 11.7 million dollars for the community.
The four-day festival kicks off on May 31st this year, and goes through June 3rd.