For moose, spring is the time of year for calving. A time when the big, hoofed mammals turn their attention to caring for their young and teaching them what they'll need to know to make it through life safely.
For the members of the Peninsula Moose Family Center No. 1942, spring means the same thing teaching the young. That's why the Moose hold their annual Bike Safety Rodeo on the first Saturday in June.
The purpose of the event, held in conjunction with the Kenai Police Department and Parks and Recreation commissioners, is to teach children bike safety skills.
"Wahoo! Look at me!" shouted a little boy at the top of his lungs.
"Hold on there partner," said Kelly George, Youth Service Officer for the Kenai Police Department. "You've got your helmet on backward."
Outfitting the kids correctly was the first step in the day's events. Helmets were donated by Dr. Byron McCord of Soldotna.
The children then went on to have their bicycles inspected. Officers inflated tires to the correct pressure, fixed broken pedals and aligned handlebars for some of the kids.
Then came the part all the youngsters were waiting for a chance to navigate though the obstacle course of close to 100 bright orange cones.
Children had neon pink arrows painted on the ground to guide them through it and officers were nearby to provide instruction.
Officers also challenged the kids at unexpected intervals by telling them to stop short, and then instructing them put a foot on the ground, to look left, right and then left again before proceeding.
"We love being able to do this," George said. "This tests their ability to handle their bikes and tells us how safe they would be on a bike trail, how they respond to signs and how safe they are in a traffic situation."
Moose members enjoyed hosting the children's safety event.
"This is what we're all about community service," said Moose Governor Carl "Kabob" Roach.
Richard Hultberg, the co-chair of the event, agreed.
"Working with the youth is a great way to give back to the community," he said. "Also, it's really fun to watch them ride and listen to the officers. It's just fun to see them have a good time."
The parents of the kids involved beamed with joy while enthusiastically watching their children ride around the course.
"It's a great opportunity for the kids," said Tonya Silk, who was there with her 8-year-old daughter, Victoria. "She's just learning to ride without training wheels, and I thought it would be good for her to learn bike safety."
Victoria said it was fun and that she learned a lot.
Christa McGahan, another young participant, said her favorite part was all the turns in the course.
After the children finished riding, they were treated to a free lunch of hot dogs, potato chips and juice.
The festivities ended with the raffling off of three new bicycles, courtesy of the Moose.
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