The annual event at Helen M. Knight Elementary School began at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 29, and 25 minutes later each bike had a new owner.
Some children traded up in size. Others got a chance to ride after having no wheels at all.
Six-year-old Elijah Montoya brought his bike to the rodeo to get a flat tire fixed. He accomplished that and received some new equipment, too.
“They actually gave him a helmet,” said Elijah’s mother, Shellie Nickle. “I think it’s amazing what they’re doing.”
Ten-year-old Mona Taylor rode in circles on a bicycle she was considering.
“It might be good for only a year,” said a volunteer from Western Spirit Cycling, which organized the 2013 rodeo.
“It might be good for 10 minutes,” said Western Spirit co-owner Ashley Korenblat, questioning whether the bike was large enough for the girl.
Taylor eventually settled on a bigger model, riding it away after Korenblat helped her buckle a helmet firmly in place.
Korenblat said local residents donated bikes for the give-away, and her only wish was that more bicycles had been available.
“You know there are people with bikes in their garage that they’re not using,” she said.
Korenblat, who owns Western Spirit with her husband Mark Sevenoff, explained the rodeo was moved from its traditional Saturday date to Monday so more technicians from local bike shops could help out. Several were on hand at HMK this week to repair bikes children brought to the rodeo, or just to inflate tires.
The donated bikes previously got tune-ups from staff members at Western Spirit and Poison Spider, Korenblat noted. Personnel from Moab Cyclery, Chili Pepper and Rim Tours helped out by donating items, including bike helmets. The Utah State Health Department also donated a box of helmets, Korenblat said.
As the rodeo began, Sean Hazell of Western Spirit was busy helping children select a properly sized bike. He also made sure that no one took a test ride without wearing a helmet.
Hazell was part of his company’s team that spent lots of time before the rodeo collecting new inner tubes and other equipment as well as working on bikes to have them ready Monday.
Those not affiliated with a bike shop also pitched in. Marshall Hannum volunteered to help fix flats and troubleshoot any bike that a child brought to the rodeo. Hannum’s skill earned him the nickname “Ace Wrench” from other workers.
Korenblat said the bike rodeo used to be focused on bike safety more than providing bikes for kids.
“We turned it into more of a bike swap,” she said.
Korenblat also put out the word for next year’s event, saying it’s not too early to start saving used bikes to donate.