By Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
ELLICOTT, Colo. — Since 2007, Ellicott Elementary School has been hosting an annual Bike Rodeo for its fourth grade students with the help of Schriever Air Force Base Airmen.
Lycrecia Ouellette began the rodeo when she observed the police department in Simla, Colo., hosting a similar event at a school there.
“I saw it and thought, our kids could do that,” said Ouellette.
After enlisting the help of Schriever Airmen, the tradition of the fourth-grade Bike Rodeo has held strong for six years.
On Monday six Schriever members constructed 28 children’s bikes donated by God’s Pantry, a non-profit organization in Fountain, Colo.
“Putting bikes together was a lot of fun,” said Staff Sgt. Jordan Barth, 50th Space Wing Command Chief executive assistant. “It was my first time volunteering for this event and it was a rewarding experience.”
After the bikes had been assembled, students from all four fourth-grade classes, gathered outside to practice riding skills at six stations, each supervised by the same volunteers who put the bikes together.
The children practiced steering, intersections and stop signs, riding a figure-eight pattern, riding small circles inside a box, navigating a serpentine course and coming to a complete stop inside a specified area.
In the future, Ouellette hopes to incorporate bike safety briefings into the rodeo.
The moment the students were all waiting for happened after the riding was complete. All 28 bikes were given away to the students through a raffle. For each class, seven bikes were given away.
“The kids are always in disbelief that we’re going to give them a bike,” said Ouellette.
The excitement in the school gym exploded after each name was pulled to announce the new bike owners. After each name was called, the students cheered each other on and ran up to claim their bikes.
Overall, the bike rodeo was considered a success.
“The bike rodeo is a really great way to end the year,” said Ouellette. “We’re really appreciative of the support we get from Schriever to do it.”