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From left, 2019 Elks Rodeo Queen candidates Emily Sabedra, Brianna Thompson, Nerissa Arellano and Alejandra Ramos pose Saturday night inside the Santa Maria Elks Lodge.

The 2019 Santa Maria Elks Rodeo Queen will be crowned Friday night during the rodeo's opening performance, which starts at 7 p.m.

The candidates are:

Alejandra Nenetzin Ramos

Ramos, 17, is representing the Kiwanis Club of Guadalupe and said she is thankful for the opportunity to represent an organization that shares her love and passion for serving others, the community, and providing opportunities for youth.

She is a senior at Orcutt Academy High School and serves as the ASB Vice President and is involved in various clubs in and out of school. After high school, she plans on attending a four-year university to earn a bachelor's degree in business administration.

She thanks her parents Luis and Amelia Ramos for being great role models who taught the value of giving back.

"Together we can make a big difference in this small, yet supportive and deserving town," she said.

Emily Sabedra

Sabedra, 15, is representing the United Way of Northern Santa Barbara County. She's a sophomore at St. Joseph High School, where she's a cheerleader and on the swim team. One of her greatest accomplishments, she said, is being on the Principal’s Honor Roll since the fourth grade. After high school she wants to attend college to study for a future in the medical field.

"When I was in the third grade I remember going to the Mini Rodeo with my school and ever since that day it’s been a dream of mine to be an Elks Rodeo Queen candidate," she said. "Now here I am, proud as can be that my dream came true."

Volunteering is one of Sabedra's favorite things to do in her spare time. She volunteers most for Special Olympics, and "I am blessed to call my favorite Special Olympian, my big sister, Kaitlyn." She has also volunteered for the St. Baldrick’s “Bald for Lexi” events, many local fundraisers and served many meals at the homeless shelter.

She's been involved in 4-H for nine years and served as president and vice president of Los Amigos 4-H club in 2017 and 2018. 

Her campaign supports the program “Home for Good” through the United Way, which connects veterans and those experiencing homelessness to permanent supportive housing, rehabilitation and any services.

"Thank you to the United Way for believing in me and giving me this opportunity of a lifetime," Sabedra said. "A huge thank you to my parents, John and Kim Sabedra for always supporting me in everything that I do, and to my big sister, Kaitlyn for always being my No. 1 cheerleader and for teaching me more about life than anyone ever could."

Brianna Thompson

Thompson, 17, represents the Kiwanis of Santa Maria (Noontime) and is a senior at Nipomo High School. She lives with her parents Danny and Angela Thompson in Nipomo, along with her brother Trevor.

Her interests include riding horses and showing animals at the Santa Barbara County Fair, Nipomo FFA, and as a freshman she became involved in public speaking and various judging teams. She also played water polo for Nipomo High School.

Through 4-H and FFA Thompson has been involved in community service projects such as Toys 4 Tots, Canned Food Drive, Toiletries for the Homeless and Coats for the Cold. More recently, in her FFA leadership class, she spent time each month with the special needs students on campus at Nipomo High School. She also volunteers for the Jack’s Helping Hand Little Riders Program and Arroyo Grande Hospital.

For the past four years Thompson has been part of the Elks Rodeo Flag Team, and plans to spend her scholarship money on college where she aims to get a nursing degree and become a flight nurse.

"I am so thankful to be a part of such a powerful organization to further my leadership abilities, grow as an individual and be a part of something that can make a big change," she said.

Nerissa Arellano

Arellano, 18, represents VTC Enterprises and is a senior at Righetti High School.

"I am very thankful to have the amazing support of my parents Jose and Brenda Arellano, as well as my younger brother Noah," she said.

Her mother has worked at VTC Enterprises for 20 years and Arellano said she's been dreaming of being a queen candidate for the past five years, while being involved in VTC Queen Campaigns. "Being a part of all the past campaigns makes me very eager and anxious to run myself, I am forever grateful to have this opportunity," she said.

Arellano is involved in Future Farmers of America and 4-H, and has shown animals for seven years, six of those showing pigs, "something I am very passionate about."

She plans to attend Allan Hancock College, receive a business administration transfer degree and transfer to a four-year University, preferably Sacramento State University, UC Santa Cruz, or Chico State where she wants to study English and liberal studies and become an English teacher.

"I am honored to be helping our community and the people of VTC Enterprises," she said.

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