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Maintaining good balance and control

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thirteen-year-old Parker Ames weaves his way around the figure 8 at the Clay County 4-H Bicycle Rodeo Wednesday. The event took place at the Clay County Justice Center. Jason Moon Photo. [Order this photo]
In his fourth year of competition, 13-year-old Parker Ames simply enjoys the Clay County 4-H Bicycle Rodeo.

"It's something I like to do," Parker said. "It gives me something to do over the summer."

Parker, the son of Mike and Suzette Ames, is a member of the Clever Clovers 4-H Group.

He competes in the junior division for the event.

The 2010 Clay County 4-H Bicycle Rodeo took place Wednesday at the Clay County Justice Center.

This year, seven children competed in the junior division while three participated in the senior division.

"They may vary," Clay County Extension Coordinator Melanie Brown said, "but that's fairly normal."

Youngsters competing in the bicycle rodeo are judged in nine categories, including:

* A written exam,

* Identifying parts and tools for bicycles,

* A safety check on a bicycle, where senior division competitors must identify 10 items. Juniors identify five,

* A straight-line ride,

* A figure 8 ride,

* A figure 8 balance ride, which is timed,

* A single obstacle,

* A double obstacle, and

* A double zig-zag.

"It's not as easy as it looks," Brown said. "I've tried it before."

Judges for the competition are members of the Clay County Sheriff's Department.

"The Sheriff's Department has been involved for several years," Brown said, making Clay County's Bicycle Rodeo unique compared to other state county events. "I believe they may have helped before I got here.

"(Sheriff Mike Heaton) and his crew are just tremendous."

This year, the event was changed slightly. Due to the heat advisory for the area, the 4-H'rs took part in outside riding events first before heading into the justice center for the written portion.

Heading into the 2010 competition, Ames had won the junior division two years in a row, earning himself a trip to the Indiana State Fair.

Last year, he placed fifth at the state level, which he said is more difficult.

"It's easier here than at state," he said. "But it gets easier the more experienced you are."

Ames returned to the top of the ranks Wednesday by winning the junior division for the third-straight year, while Austin Sinders won the senior division, and was also named Grand Champion for the event.

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Congrats Parker. Good luck at the State Fair!

-- Posted by Partrosie on Thu, Jul 15, 2010, at 9:02 AM

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