Free wheeling fun filled the parking lot at Kerens Middle School, Saturday, Oct. 5 during the Bike Safety Rodeo put on by the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students as part of their Bobcat TRAKS elective classes, which focus on cooperative team problem solving and positive character development.

The students dedicated weeks to planning and researching similar events as well as drafting letters asking for donations from local merchants. Using recycled pallets and donated construction materials, they designed and built obstacles to simulate situations young riders might encounter while riding their bikes such as crossing railroad tracks and uneven terrain. To promote their event, teams of students made flyers, posters, press releases, and video commercials to get the word out to the community.

More than 60 kids ranging in age from three to 17 came out to take part in the bike safety event and have fun testing their bike riding skills, including achieving their personal best on a BMX- style race track created especially for the day. For those with bikes needing a flat fixed or a chain adjusted, volunteers were ready to help get them out on the course quickly and was able to receive their certificate and bike drivers license.

So no one was left out of the fun, loaner bikes provided by the Corsicana Police Dept's evidence dept. were available for those kids who couldn't bring a bike and were given away at the end of the event. To create a well-rounded event, the Bobcat TRAKS students cooked hot dogs over a grill and provided bottled water to everyone who attended.

The students wanted to include the community in the event and were able to reach out to several key companies to insure the success of their bike safety rodeo. The Powell Volunteer Fire Dept was on-sight to lend a hand with first aid and Snowie Town Snowcones helped to keep everyone cool. The day's finale was a group bike ride around downtown Kerens with locally-owned Elite Foundation serving as the chase vehicle, picking up bikes with mechanical trouble and riders with tired legs!

The students would like to thank all of the local merchants who donated money and products, as well as the many volunteers who helped to make this event possible. Support from Athens WalMart, Corsicana WalMart, Atwoods, and HEB merchants, and the Kerens Feed and Grain Elevator. Mechanical expertise and BMX track construction was provided by Irving Police Officer Jim Standlee with assistance from Ryan and Stephanie Thrash. Kerens art and theater teacher Ms Pam Jenkins and her theater production class lent their building skills and provided staffing during the event.

When asked for their thoughts at the conclusion of the Bike Safety Rodeo, the middle school students expressed that they most enjoyed building the obstacle elements and working on the BMX style race track. Others said they enjoyed helping the younger children around the safety course and everyone agreed this should become an annual event.

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