Lincoln Kiley and Josey Skaarer each won a new bike at the 2022 4-H Bike Rodeo at the Grant County 4-H grounds. United Hardware donated the bikes.
Over 70 youth, along with their bikes, participated in the rodeo on Friday, May 20. The biannual bike safety event is led by Grant County 4-H member William Karels. “Many kids, like myself, live on a farm and are not used to riding with traffic. It is important that we let area youth know that wearing a helmet is a good thing,” Karels says.
Kids from kindergarten through fifth grade were invited to participate, and the one thing Karels says he prides himself on is making the event free. Grants and donations from local businesses make it possible. “Those in attendance learn how local businesses care about the kids.”
Before the event started, each youth licensed their bike, and Dr. Peter Reynen and Peggy Schuelke from the Milbank Area Hospital Avera fitted them for a new bike helmet. They also received a bag containing a t-shirt, bike reflector, and bandage dispenser.
Winners of the coloring contest included: Luke Koplin, grades K-1; Riley Krause, grades 2-3; and Aubree Madsen, grades 4-5. Each winner received a bike trophy donated by Street Graphex.
Whetstone Transfer, Learning Time Preschool, and the Midwest Dairy Association sponsored and served a meal of hot dogs, chips, milk, and an ice cream bar. At the end of the day, each child received a certificate for completing the safety course. Whimsy on Main donated prizes for a drawing, and a Midwest Dairy Association grant-sponsored ice cream coupons good at Triple Dip.
Each youth went through several educational sessions:· Bike Safety Check – Jason Karels and John Madsen checked each youth’s bike for alignment, brakes, and general fit. They also provided any repairs necessary during the event.· Bike Handling – The Milbank Police Department conducted an obstacle course through a series of cones to teach bike handling and control while obeying traffic rules.· First Aid – The Grant-Roberts Ambulance educated the youth on the care of bumps and scrapes.· Bike Safety—The Grant County Sherriff’s Department shared tips on how to be safe on the roadways and how to use hand signals. An officer from the South Dakota Highway Patrol presented a lesson on safety and allowed youth to sit in his patrol car.· Bike Ride – The youth enjoyed a group bike ride on Flynn Trail.
“I admire the leadership William takes on this event,” says Sara Koepke, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Adviser-Grant County. “The event is growing each time with youth participating and the support of the businesses and organizations.”
W. Karels was aided by Grant County 4-H members: Darin Hagen, Hope Karels, Devon Mueller, Abby Pillatzki, Nathan Pillatzki, Cailey Sime, and Nadia Thue. Andrea Hagen, Susan Karels, and the Grant County 4-H office also assisted.
W. Karels says, “I would like to remind youth to continue to wear their bike helmets.” Whenever a law enforcement office finds a kid wearing their helmet, they will receive a token for ice cream that is redeemable at the Milbank Hospital-Avera.
Don’t have a properly fitted bike helmet? Free helmets are available. Contact the Grant County 4-H office at 605.432.9221. The next 4-H Bike Rodeo and Safety Day is scheduled for 2024.