The Wisconsin Rapids Lodge No. 128 organized the first youth Bike Rodeo/Safety Fair on May 7. It has not been done in the area communities in a very long time. This was one of the products of a lodge visioning process that was conducted three years ago and on hold due to the pandemic, when we asked ourselves “what is our lodge identity”? When we acknowledge our Masonic history and the legacy, we have been given by previous generations we needed to ask ourselves what legacy do we leave for the next generation. The list was very comprehensive and provided a path toward community activities.
The Bike Rodeo was held at the Grand Rapids Lions Club grounds as it provided a great layout for this event with a rain or shine option. This event integrated the Masonic Lodge, Order of Eastern Star, Shriners, Widows Son Motorcycle Club, the Grand Rapids Lions Club, the Wisconsin Rapids and Grand Rapids Police Departments and volunteers from Brings Cycle business in town. It was great to be able to integrate all of these organizations for one purpose, the Safety of our children. Yes, donuts were provided for the police officers. Twelve Police officers volunteered to work this event.
The event was for children from K-6 where children can learn safe riding skills, have their bikes inspected and minor repairs or adjustments done and helmets properly fitted as well as new helmets given to those needing them at no cost. Volunteers from Brings Cycle conducted the inspections, the helmets were provided by a grant from Bell, loaner bikes were also provided to those children needing them. Hot dogs, chips and drinks were provided and a chance to win a brand-new bike. Fourteen new boys’ and girls’ bikes were raffled off by three age categories at the end of the event. It was heartwarming to see the new bikes going to children who did not have a bike of their own as well as children of special needs. This not only was a heartwarming event but no doubt will be an annual event for the community going forward.