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Bike Rodeo encourages fun, safety and fitness

Jack Bucholz successful-ly completed a precise stop at the rodeo.

More than 75 boys and girls from around the Perham area were greeted with high fives by KLN’s ‘gummy’ mascots as they hopped off their school busses and got ready to ride in this year’s Bike Rodeo, a fun-filled bike safety event held last Wednesday, May 8.

The rodeo, which was put on by Partnership 4 Health in conjunction with the Perham Police Department and 14 local sponsors, took place in the parking lot of the Perham Area Boys and Girls Club, which was also a partner.

One at a time, kids walked their bikes through a series of checkpoints designed to ensure their safety during the rodeo: helmet safety, tire pressure checks, and, in some cases, aligning training wheels.

Once they were ready, the riders were allowed to traverse a series of small obstacles, such as slalom-style navigation around traffic cones, under the supervision of parents, volunteers, and a handful of members of the police department.

“The goal is to impact obesity,” said Karen Nitzkorski of Partnership 4 Health as she assisted other volunteers at the rodeo.

“We have to fight chronic diseases. They’re caused by smoking, inactivity, and poor nutrition, so Minnesota has invested in the Partnership 4 Health, which is a statewide health improvement program in 44 counties, Otter Tail being one of them,” she explained.

“We invest time and energy into getting more kids biking and we partner with the police department to get them biking safely,” Nitzkorski added.

After completing the obstacle course, many participants were led on an extended ride through the streets of Perham and neighboring bike trails.

Other activities included jumping rope, hula hooping, and playing in a small sandbox. Bikes, helmets and other safety gear were given away.