Grant County kids take home helmets, safety tips during 4-H Bike Rodeo

South Dakota State University Extension
Youth rode their bikes to six different sessions, including a bike handling station. The kids rode their bikes, comfortably turning through a series of cones to observe bike handling and control, while obeying traffic rules.

Over 70 youth gathered on May 20 for the 2022 4-H Bike Rodeo at the Grant County 4-H Grounds for a morning of bike safety activities.

This year’s bike rodeo was led by Grant County 4-H member William Karels.

“I felt a bike safety program was important for everyone,” Karels said. “Many youth, 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.”

The bike safety event was open to youth in kindergarten through fifth grade. Those that attended the event received bike safety gear and were fitted with a free bike helmet provided by the Milbank Area Hospital-Avera and Avera Medical Group in Milbank.

Throughout the morning, youth attended several bike safety educational sessions. The first aid session, led by the Grant-Roberts Ambulance Service, demonstrated how to properly care for bumps and scrapes one might encounter while riding a bike. The Grant County Sherriff’s Department and South Dakota Highway Patrol led the bike safety session where youth were shown how to be safe on roadways and utilize proper hand signals while biking. The Milbank Police Department taught bike handling via an obstacle course where participants had to turn through a series of cones while obeying traffic rules. Youth were also taught how to conduct a bike safety check where they assessed bike tire alignment and breaks.

At the conclusion of the event, each attendee received a certificate for completing the safety course and two attendees were awarded bikes donated by United Hardware in Milbank.

“I admire the leadership William takes on this event,” said Sara Koepke, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor in Grant County. “The event is growing each time with more youth participating and the increasing support of businesses and organizations. This is an important event for Grant County youth to learn proper bike safety.”

Each youth received a free bike helmet and wore the helmets throughout the event. Staff from Avera Hospital-Milbank assisted in fitting helmets.

Karels was assisted by Grant County 4-H members Darin Hagen, Hope Karels, Devon Mueller, Abby Pillatzki, Nathan Pillatzki, Cailey Sime and Nadia Thue. In addition, adult assistance was provided by Andrea Hagen, Susan Karels and the Grant County 4-H Office.

Karels takes pride in making this event free for youth to attend due to grants and donations from local businesses.

“It’s great to have support from local businesses for the bike rodeo event,” Karels said.

Sponsors for the event included Catholic United Financial, Thrivent Financial, Great Western Bank, First Bank and Trust, Milbank Area Retired Teachers Association, South Dakota Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC), Milbank Area Hospital-Avera, Avera Medical Group in Milbank, Milbank City Police, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Grant County Sheriff’s Department, Grant-Roberts Ambulance, Street Graphex, Whetstone Transfer, Learning Time Preschool, Midwest Dairy Association, Whimsy on Main, United Hardware, Grant County 4-H, American Lutheran Church, Grant County Review and the KMSD radio station.

If any area youth do not have a properly fitted bike helmet, they are encouraged to contact the Grant County 4-H Office at 605-432-9221, as additional helmets are available.