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Fun and safety at the Bike Rodeo

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Wednesday, August 8, 2007

RANKIN INLET - Kids in Rankin Inlet had a chance to hone their skills during a bike rodeo at Victor's Playground this past week.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Tyrese Dias, 8, shows RCMP summer student Suzanne Sammurtok how he would signal for a right turn during a bike rodeo in Rankin Inlet this past week. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

The annual event is co-sponsored by the local Department of Public Health and the RCMP detachment as a way to promote road and bicycle safety.

Prizes and pop for the event are donated by Rankin's business community.

Community health representative Dimarees Saimaut helped organize the event.

She said the young cyclists are marked on a point system to win prizes.

"The kids win some nice prizes, thanks to the generosity of local businesses, but the point of the rodeo is to get them thinking about being safe while they're having fun on their bikes," said Saimaut.

"We talk to them about having reflectors, wearing a helmet, how to use hand signals and properly approach a stop sign and the importance of having a bike that's the right size.

"The kids have a lot of fun on the obstacle course and winning prizes, but safety is what the rodeo's all about."

Extra points were awarded to every young rider who had a parent come to the rodeo with them.

Saimaut said it's very important for parents to be involved with teaching their kids bike safety, especially when they're just starting out.

She said looking both ways before crossing a street sounds simple to an adult, but kids often forget when they're excited and having fun with their friends.

"We didn't have quite as many kids as last year, but we did have a fair turnout.

"It took us two hours to run the event and they kept us pretty busy."

Everyone who entered the rodeo had their name entered into a draw for a brand-new bike.

Darren Saimaut had his name picked for the younger kids bike, while Butch Sigurdson won the bigger bike.

"I was so happy (community constable) Warren Kusugak was there when my son's name got picked.

"We really appreciate the support we receive from our local businesses.

"The kids seem to really enjoy it, so, hopefully, we can do it again next year."