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Bicycle Rodeo, Safety Fair Big Hit With Community
Riverbank Police Services including staff and deputies took a moment for a photo op during the Kids Health and Safety Bike Rodeo, displaying the bicycles to be given away at the end of the event. - photo by Photo By Virginia Still

On a sunny summer evening, Central Valley Community Resources (CVCR) in partnership with Riverbank Police Services and the City of Riverbank brought the community a family fun and informative event at the Community Center Park. Although the temperatures were on the warmer side, people in the Riverbank community walked through the outdoor event staged on July 10. They received candy and other goodies as well as information including pool safety and bike safety. Many of the youngsters attending were fitted with free bike helmets and life jackets.

“It was an awesome event,” stated CVCR CEO Darlene Barber Martinez. “I think attendance was up from years past.”

This has been an annual event and Barber-Martinez explained that it began at the Farmers Market at the Community Center Park in Riverbank. Former council member Dotty Nygard was the market manager at the time. The Riverbank Chamber of Commerce hosted the Farmers Market for two years after Nygard left the area. Last year CVCR, RPS and the City joined forces to continue the health and safety fair.

“This was the best Bicycle Safety Fair (Bike Rodeo) yet,” stated RPS Chief Erin Kiely. “Both the community involvement and the weather were outstanding. In addition to the bicycle portion of the safety fair that Riverbank Police Services was running, Safe Kids fit and equipped the children with not just free bike helmets, but also free life jackets in order to promote water safety as well. Three volunteers from the Modesto Police Department augmented Safe Kids efforts.”

There were several vendors like Self-Help Federal Credit Union, Farmers Insurance, Tops Coalition, International Heritage Festival, Stanislaus County Registrar, F&M Bank, Royal Neighbors of America, Oakdale Shelter Pet Alliance, Riverbank Federated Women’s Club, Children’s Crisis Center and Safe Kids Stanislaus County.

Safe Kids gave away the free helmets and life jackets.

Kona Ice provided a variety of shaved ice options to also keep guests cool during the event.

RPS had a bicycle obstacle course set up and their very own Sgt. Lloyd MacKinnon as the bike mechanic doing maintenance on bikes and fixing anything that was broken. The kids were given raffle tickets for a brand new bike or a raffle prize.

“The bicycle obstacle course set up by the deputies ranged from challenging to a ‘piece of cake’ for kids, depending on their experience level,” added Kiely. “Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department Explorers helped guide the less experienced riders through the course.”

There were approximately 40 raffle prizes that were provided by the organizations that attended the event with an assortment of prizes including gift cards for Galaxy Theater, toys and gift baskets.

“The whole event is important for kids to know safety for riding their bikes and parents and caregivers to get important information for kid safety from the organizations that were present,” added Barber-Martinez. “I asked that each organization have an activity for the kids to do so that they spend time at the booth. I wanted parents and caregivers to appreciate that organization for what they do for our community and get valuable information that they might need.”

CVCR also provided a water slide for those that wanted to cool off during the event. They also set up a booth offering guests tacos, hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, and drinks.

“Thanks to the generous bike donations from those such as: F&M Bank, Lana Clayton/Farmers Insurance, Brandy Gabaldon, the Eddie and Tami Simas family, and others ... we had almost 20 bicycles to raffle off at the end of the evening,” expressed Kiely. “Vice-Mayor Darlene Barber-Martinez was also able to secure many other raffle prizes so that most children in attendance walked away with something more than a free bike helmet and life jacket. For years, Darlene has been a driving force in ensuring that this event continues to be successful. Without her, and Riverbank Police Services CSO Nesserin Harigot, it wouldn’t have been the same.”