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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

4-H youth take part in bicycle rodeo

Friday, July 20, 2007

Ben Powell, 17, of Brazil, sits on a bike used for the safety identification portion of the 4-H bike rodeo.
Ben Powell knows a bicycle can take you a long way.

Powell, 17, is a member of the Clay County 4-H Junior Leaders and has participated in the 4-H Bike Rodeo in some form for seven years.

"This is the second year that I have helped in the setup of the rodeo," Powell said. "Before that, I participated in the event for five years."

The event is split into two divisions. The Junior Division is for competitors who are in grades 3-7, while the Senior Division is composed of those in grades 5-12 grades, with overall Grand and Grand Reserve Champions awarded.

The rodeo consists of three parts: a skills competition, written test and a parts identification where competitors must point out safety hazards on a broken-down bicycle.

"The competition is a lot tougher than most people would think," Powell said. "It takes a great amount of skill, especially going through the obstacle course."

Winners of the bike rodeo go on to compete at the Indiana State Fair, something Powell has experienced first hand.

"I won the bike rodeo once and was able to show off my skills at the state competition," he said. "It was an unbelievable experience."

Although Powell has not competed the past couple years, he still enjoys helping keep the event alive.

"My family does a lot of work with the 4-H, and I couldn't find the time to practice," he said. "I like helping set up the course and watching the competition itself."

Clay County 4-H Youth Extension Educator Melanie Brown said it is the work of young people like Powell which keep 4-H events fun.

"It is great to see the youth of Clay County working together," Brown said. "The Junior Leaders are truly the backbone of the program."

Powell admits to missing participating in the competition, but likes watching the event to see new skills which are brought to the table by new riders.

"It's strange not riding myself after competing for five years," he said. "However, it is fun seeing the skills and new tricks that others have worked on."

This year's Grand Champion was Austin Sinders from the Senior Division, and Junior Division competitor Nathan Buell was the Reserve Grand Champion.

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