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Local athletic organizations hopeful for fundraising through fireworks sales amid COVID-19 pandemic
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Local athletic organizations hopeful for fundraising through fireworks sales amid COVID-19 pandemic

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, fundraising opportunities for area programs have been few.

The Righetti High School wrestling program and Pioneer Valley Booster Club, along with the Santa Maria Southside Little League have been busy doing exactly that, though.

The organizations have set up fireworks sale booths. The Righetti wrestling program’s booth is at the corner of McCoy and Broadway. The Pioneer Valley Booster Club’s booth is at the corner of Main and Miller, in the old Sears parking lot. Southside's booth is at 901 W. Main Street and the Santa Maria High School Football Boosters are out at 1617 North Broadway.

Both booths will run through July 4. Proceeds from both will go toward benefiting various school programs.

“That (Righetti) fundraising program has been going on for years,” said former veteran Righetti wrestling coach Dutch Van Patten.

“No one under the age of 18 can work the booth. Coaches work the booth, former wrestlers come in and work the booth.

“We’ve had a lot of former wrestlers come in and work the booth.”

Van Patten said, “The fundraiser has been pretty successful so far, though probably not as much in the past because they weren’t able to do the pre-sale stuff,” because of the pandemic.

As for the Pioneer Valley Booster Club booth, “We are really excited to bring TNT Fireworks to all of our Santa Maria families,” said Pioneer Valley athletic director Jeff Monteiro.

Monteiro said proceeds from the Pioneer Valley booth will go to school clubs, organizations and sports.

Van Patten said he is not working the Righetti fireworks booth this year.

“I’ve got enough on my plate,” he said.

One project Van Patten said he is working on is the Righetti Goat Program.

“The program is for students throughout the area with special needs,” he said.

“Proceeds from the program go toward students throughout the area who are showing goats,” said Van Patten.

“The proceeds go toward getting getting the students their uniforms, the goats’ feed,” whatever is needed for the students to show their goats, said Van Patten.

This year, “The program is going toward benefiting four students from Righetti, two from Santa Maria and one from Arroyo Grande.”

With no opportunities this year to show their goats, “The students are selling the goats directly,” said Van Patten.

Southside Little League President Alishia Pantoja said that fireworks sales are vitally important to the league, and that, so far, sales this year have outstripped what they were at this time.

“This is the second year we’ve been doing this, and it has been going very well so far this year,” said Pantoja.

“We will be selling from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday) and 10 a.m. Saturday until we sell out.”

Pantoja said, “This (fireworks booth fundraising) activity has been an end-of-season activity to help get us set up for the next year.

“The proceeds go toward registration, tryouts, and anything the kids might need, such as safety equipment.”

Pantoja said, “We’re trying to exceed what we made last year by 10 percent. If anyone is interested (in coming by the booth), we’d love to see them.”

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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