The Hamilton Police Department’s free Bike Rodeo will take place 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 15, at Hamilton Middle School.
The event is being organized by Bob Liercke, Kristen Bennett and Kim Boldt.
Boldt, coordinator of the Keystone Enrichment Program, said all bike riders are welcome no matter their skill level, age or where they live.
“If kids have bikes with training wheels, they are welcome too,” she said. “If they live anywhere in the Bitterroot Valley they are welcome to come. We are hoping to have kids that are just learning to push around on a bike or any skill level.”
The educational and skill program is sponsored by Mark Spear of State Farm, on Second Street, in conjunction with the Hamilton School District.
The community has been donating to the event so that every participant will receive a prize.
“There are $10 gift certificates from Dominoes, books and gift cards,” Boldt said. “I already have $400 in gift certificates and raffle prizes so far. We are really lucky to have so much support for our youth here.”
Bike riders will learn bike safety, rules of the road, how to navigate different riding scenarios like avoiding obstacles and riding in gravel. The event will have tags for bikes, safety inspections, helmet fitting stations, bike safety courses and challenge courses.
“One of the courses we had last year was like a race but who could go the slowest,” Boldt said. “It is really hard to have control at a slow pace because it is a slow muscle movement and balancing at the same time is challenging.”
Last year the big challenge course had a board that was balanced on a log that tipped like a teeter-totter. Precise controlled movement was also important.
The Bike Rodeo includes free a barbecue at 11 a.m.
The Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department will bring their giant trailer grill and cook up hot dogs. Super One, Albertson’s, Safeway and Hamilton Market Place have made donations.
“It will be a really fun activity and entirely free,” Boldt said. “There will even be snow cones. It’s amazing how many people are excited to be a part of it.”
Last year the Bike Rodeo was held in August but the earlier bike safety event will take place at the beginning of summer. Fliers have gone home with students in an effort to reach more bike riders.
“It is the day before Father’s Day and a great free event for people to go to as a family,” Boldt said.
Keystone is providing bikes and some helmets again this year but kids are encouraged to bring their own bikes.
“The police department is hoping to register bikes so that if they are lost or stolen then are found they can return them to their rightful owners,” Boldt said. “Chris and Brian from Red Barn will be on site to check tires and chains so that if anything needs to be tuned up they could do that.”
Registration for the event will be 8 to 9 a.m. the morning of June 15. Riders will register and parents will need to sign permission forms.
There will be a live DJ, prizes and raffle items. Last year over 50 bike riders participated in the three-hour session.
Community volunteers are still needed and there is a volunteer meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, in the Keystone Center on the corner of Madison and Sixth streets.
“The thought on that is if we can designate course assignments it will be easier for the Bike Rodeo,” Boldt said. “This is really going to be fun. It is a labor of love and I’m excited to see so many people coming together to make it happen. ”