Yellowknife's Bike Rodeo celebrates 35th anniversary

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Hundreds of bikes cruised into Yellowknife's Multiplex on Sunday to experience the city's annual Bike Rodeo.

Each year, the City of Yellowknife teams up with generous sponsors and hard- working volunteers to host the rodeo – which is an opportunity for children to learn the importance of bike safety.

“They’re going through a six-course circuit where they learn rules of the road and safety," municipal enforcement officer Daryle Foster explained. "They also get properly fitted helmets and a bike tune up.

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“Everything’s free at the Bike Rodeo.”

If there is one thing Foster hopes a child takes away from the experience, it's simple: always wear your helmet.

Jennifer Snodgrass, mother to two children who completed the circuit, paid tribute to the event.

“This was their first time they've ever done this and they learned some things they didn't know before, so I think they'll have more confidence on their bike,” said Snodgrass.

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It took her family about two hours to get through the course – but they also enjoyed a lot of candy along the way.

An event like this takes months of preparation, said Foster, who expressed gratitude to everyone who contributed.

“We've got 38 sponsors, very generous businesses and organizations, and the City of Yellowknife – so a big shout-out to them as well,” he said.

The bike rodeo is one of two summertime events in Yellowknife focused on getting kids to travel safely on their bikes.

Helmets for Hardy, run by Jackie and Ed Hardy, will take place from 1pm this Saturday, June 15, at St Joe's.

The program was established following the death of Josh Hardy, son of Jackie and Ed, in 2012.

Josh passed away at the age of 18 after suffering a fractured skull while skateboarding without a helmet. The Hardy family has since campaigned for NWT youth to have access to, and wear, head protection during similar activities.

The annual event looked set to wind down after the summer of 2017 – but has since received the funding needed to keep going, thanks to organizations such as 100 Men Who Give a Damn Yellowknife, the Gary Robinson Memorial Fund, the Yellowknife Elks Lodge #314, and the Yellowknife Community Foundation.

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