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Organizations plan bike rodeo this weekend

A rodeo that will be held in Suffolk on Saturday won’t include any cattle or bucking broncos, but still will be fun and teach children valuable lessons about safety.

The bicycle rodeo is being hosted by the Pilot Club of Suffolk and the Nansemond River Pilot Club. The first 50 children who participate in the bike rodeo will get a free bicycle helmet, and all those who participate in the bike rodeo or in the fire safety house will receive a ticket for a free lunch.

“The slightest accident or brain injury can result in severe, life-long effects,” said Cathy Richards of the Pilot Club of Suffolk. “The simplest thing like wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle can really protect your life.”

Pilot International focuses on raising awareness of brain-related disorders, diseases and injuries, and how to prevent them. Conducting the bicycle rodeo in conjunction with the Suffolk Police Department is a perfect way to emphasize prevention of head injuries while riding bikes, skateboarding or roller-blading, Richards said.

“No matter what age you are, you should always wear a bicycle helmet when riding a bike,” she said.

Saturday’s bicycle rodeo and safety event will be held in the parking lot of West End Baptist Church, 501 W. Washington St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A fire truck and the fire safety house also will be at the event. The fire safety house is a trailer filled with mock safety scenarios to teach children to recognize danger around the house.

“The purpose of the bike rodeo is to teach them balancing, maneuvering and keeping control of their bikes at all times,” Richards said.

Children who wish to participate in the bike rodeo must have a parent with them.

The free helmets are being provided by the Lynn A. Chiaverotti Memorial Fund, an organization created in honor of Lynn, who died from a brain-related injury. The specially designed helmets are illustrated to look like an actual brain.