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The Santa Maria Elks Rodeo is one of this region’s biggest events, and has been for more than three-quarters of a century.

There are cowboys and cowgirls. There are rodeo pros trying to get to the national finals. There’s a parade that matches anything on the Central Coast.

And there is the rodeo queen contest, with hard-working young women contestants working to raise money for local civic organizations, mostly those providing a range of activities and services for local youth.

The 76th edition of the Elks Rodeo Queen contest raised a record $800,000 for charitable causes.

And because it’s Saturday, a truckload of roses to the event’s organizers, and a trainload of flowers for the queen contestants who spent weeks setting that new contributions record. They are: Elks Rodeo Queen Nerissa Arellano, who represented VTC Enterprises and raised $379,345; Alejandra Nenetzin Ramos, Kiwanis Club of Guadalupe, $48,434; Emily Sabedra, United Way of Santa Barbara County, $96,000; and Brianna Thompson, Noontime Kiwanis of Santa Maria, $271,746.

There was also a Golden Circle of Champions live auction, which raises money to support pediatric cancer patients, and which this year generated around $20,000, or approximately double the funds raised at the inaugural event last year.

Bravo, and roses to everyone involved! May every rodeo bring a new fund-raising record.

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In the mood for some quiet, loving companionship? The Santa Maria Valley Human Society has just the item for you.

June is national Adopt-a-Cat Month. The no-cost adoption promotion includes all adult cats at the Society’s 1687 W. Stowell Road facility, the Petco at 615 E. Betteravia Ave., and PetSmart at 2306 S. Bradley Road.

All the fur-and-purr machines have been examined by a shelter veterinarian, spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated and microchipped. Every adopted cat goes home with a bag of cat food and a voucher for a free health exam from a participating area veterinarian.

The American Humane Society launched the June program because summer is when shelters nationwide fill to the brim with cats.

Roses to all who adopt a cat this month — potentially saving not only that creature’s life, but creating more space at the shelter for another hopeful adoptee.

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Seems like today’s theme is all about giving and community involvement. So, the next activity to consider is donating a little of your blood, which in many cases also leads to saving a life. You can spare a pint for that.

The city of Santa Maria is holding a blood drive from noon-4 p.m. next Thursday, June 13, in the Vitalant bloodmobile, which will in the parking lot between the lawn bowling green and the Paul Nelson Aquatic Center, along South McClelland Street, across from the Santa Maria Public Library.

Donors with Type O-negative blood are especially in demand, because O-negative red cells can be transfused to anyone, and are often used to help patients when there is no time to determine the patient’s own blood type. Donors with Type AB — positive or negative — are needed because the plasma is suitable for all patients, and is the only plasma used for trauma patients and neonatal babies.

You can get on the donor list by calling the city at 925-0951, ext. 2372. A special rose for all who give so others may live.

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A brief reminder concerning an important subject: It’s summer, and folks are out and about, especially younger folks.

Roses to all the drivers who are mindful of kids running around, and the importance of looking out for them.

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