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Treaty #3 bike rodeo hailed as ‘best yet’

    With two excellent events behind them, organizers of the third-annual Treaty #3 Bicycle Rodeo wanted to ensure this year’s event was just as good—if not better.    And despite Saturday’s hot, sticky temperatures, they got their wish.    “It was the best yet—even better then last year,” noted Treaty #3 Police Cst. Armand Jourdain, who co-organized the event with Alana Fyfe.    About 125 youngsters stopped by the Couchiching multi-use facility between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to participate in the bike rodeo, meet several Treaty #3 police officers, and enjoy a barbecue lunch.    While the turnout was comparable to last year, Cst. Jourdain noted there seemed to be more participation from parents and everyone had a really good day.    “It was a tremendous success,” he added. “I spoke to some people who didn’t realize how big the bike rodeo is.”    Fyfe said there were a lot of prizes and free giveaways, which was an exciting part of the day, as well.    “We had about $4,000 in prizes,” she noted, adding she and Cst. Jourdain canvassed local businesses for donations leading up to the event.    “Over 40 businesses and organizations gave money or prizes. It’s great—everyone pitches in,” Fyfe enthused.    A large portion of the funds was offered by the police services board, meaning Fyfe and Cst. Jourdain were able to purchase 11 bicycles as prizes, in addition to other giveaways such as IPods.    Winners of the bikes were Riley Calder, Jo-Anna Johnson, Brady Bishop, Lamar Lucas, Rebecca Vandemeer, Myles Morrison, Dominic Allan, Trent Boshkaykin, Tiffany Morrison, and Emma Yerxa (the 11th winner could not be recalled).    “The kids just loved it. It was like Christmas in July,” Fyfe remarked, noting there also were loot bags for each participant so no one went home empty-handed.    “I wanted to do something for the community—for the kids. To make it a memorable day for them,” she added.    Cst. Jourdain was thrilled to see one participant, who didn’t have his own bicycle, was the winner of a brand-new one.    “It was well worth all the work,” he said. “I wish they had had something like this organized when I was a kid.”    He also stressed learning bicycle safety was important, with the officers teaching the children hand signals and the meanings of road signs, as well as some railroad safety.    “We have a railway track [in Couchiching] and some kids just don’t look or think about trains, so hopefully now they’ll remember,” Cst. Jourdain said, adding he and Fyfe already are looking forward to next year’s event.    He added they plan to advertise the bike rodeo earlier and perhaps hold it in May when school is still in session to avoid missing those youngsters on vacation.    “We’d also like to see more kids participate from Fort Frances and the surrounding areas—it’s a regional bike rodeo,” he stressed. “And every year it’s improving more and more.”

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