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DL's 9th Annual Bicycle Rodeo set for April 27 at Freeman Arena

Jeff Staley of Detroit Lakes (on knees) volunteered on the "pit crew" making sure bikes were in good condition during the 2017 Bike Rodeo in Detroit Lakes. (Nathan Bowe / Tribune)1 / 7
A bike is inspected for safety. Bicycles and helmets will also be inspected for safety at this year's Detroit Lakes Bicycle Rodeo, set for April 27 at Kent Freeman Arena. (Submitted photo)2 / 7
Timothy Singleton, 3, and his mom, Lucia Singleton of Fargo, head towards volunteer Carol McCarthy during the 2017 Bike Rodeo. (Nathan Bowe / Tribune)3 / 7
Timothy Singleton, 3, of Fargo, gets instructions for one of the toughest parts of the Bike Rodeo, pulling over for oncoming"cars" played by volunteers, during the 2017 Bike Rodeo in Detroit Lakes. (Nathan Bowe / Tribune)4 / 7
Kids of all ages, riding bikes appropriate to their size, will take part in the 9th Annual Detroit Lakes Bicycle Rodeo on Saturday, April 27 at Kent Freeman Arena. (Submitted photo)5 / 7
Mike Heikes of Fergus Falls adjusts the helmet on a youngster at the 2017 Bike Rodeo in Detroit Lakes. He provided 70 helmets that were given away at the event, and will also be on hand for this year's Bike Rodeo on April 27. (Nathan Bowe / Tribune)6 / 7
Detroit Lakes Police Chief Steven Todd really enjoys interacting with kids at the annual Bike Rodeo, which is set to take place this Saturday, April 27 at Kent Freeman Arena. (Submitted photo)7 / 7

Do you love bike riding? Do your kids' or grandkids' bicycles need a spring tune-up? Then gather up those bikes and come down to Kent Freeman Arena this Saturday, April 27 for Detroit Lakes' 9th Annual Bike Rodeo.

"A bike rodeo is a bicycle safety education event for kids," says Patrick Hollister of PartnerSHIP 4 Health, which is one of the event sponsors. "The main purpose of the bike rodeo is to teach kids safe biking skills so that when they get on their bikes this spring and summer, they'll be safe on the road."

Though the bike rodeo is designed for kids in kindergarten through 8th grade, Hollister said that preschoolers and high school-age kids are also welcome.

"We do request that when a kid arrives they come with their bike, a bike helmet and a parent," he added. "That's our preference, but we do sometimes get kids showing up that don't have a helmet, so we will have some to give away.

"Sometimes we also have kids come without a parent, which is okay, but we prefer that they be accompanied by an adult."

After kids and parents arrive, the first step is to register the kid for the bike rodeo; if a kid does not have a bike helmet of their own, one will be provided for them free of charge, courtesy of Mike Heikas of Helmets for Kids in Fergus Falls (www.helmetsforkids.org).

Heikas suffered a brain injury in a serious car crash and now makes it his life's work to protect others. "If it prevents one kid from having a brain injury and going through what I went through, it's worth it," Heikas said during the 2017 event.

"Then if the kid's bike needs some type of minor maintenance, like putting air in the tires or tightening the brakes, we will have volunteers there to help fix it," Hollister said. "We can't guarantee we can fix absolutely anything that might be wrong with the bike, but for minor repairs, we can help."

Next, the kids go through a bicycle safety obstacle course, "where we test the kids' knowledge of how to signal," Hollister said.

Once the kid shows they know how to signal a left turn, right turn, and stop, they are also asked to show that they can avoid road hazards like rocks and debris, and demonstrate other basic bicycle safety skills and maneuvers.

"The kid can go through the obstacle course as many times as they need to in order to pass," Hollister said.

Once they have completed the course, the kids are asked to take the registration slip with their name and phone number, and drop it into one of six buckets.

"We will be giving away six bikes by random drawing, so there will be six buckets," Hollister said. "The bikes will be in two different sizes. The kid puts their name in the bucket next to the bike they like the most; we will draw one name from each bucket and give them away at the end of the event."

Neither the kids nor their parents need to be present to claim their bikes, however: That's why they are asked to include their phone number on the registration slip.

"We don't want people to feel like they have to stick around until 11:30 in order to be eligible to win the bike," Hollister said, adding that winners who are not present will be contacted by phone immediately after the event has concluded.

"I would like to thank all the different people and organizations who help make this bike rodeo a reality," Hollister said.

Partners for the 9th Annual Bicycle Rodeo include the Detroit Lakes Police Department, City of Detroit Lakes, Becker County 4-H, Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center, DL Bike Shop, Midwest Bank, Essentia Health, Lakeshirts, KDLM Radio, Bremer Bank, Bell State Bank, American National Bank, Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union, Ameriprise Financial, Detroit Lakes Jaycees, Detroit Lakes Kiwanis, Detroit Lakes Rotary Clubs (both Noon and Breakfast), BTD Manufacturing, Detroit Mountain Recreation Area, Amerigas, Anytime Fitness, Divine House, Foltz Trucking, Papa Murphy's and PartnerSHIP 4 Health.

For more information, please contact Leigh Edwards at Becker County 4-H, 218-846-7328, or by email at nels1425@umn.edu.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

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