FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Safety was the main theme for Cub Scout Pack 50's annual bicycle rodeo Sept. 25.

More than 45 pack members gathered for a safety briefing and bicycle ride around Fort Rucker. The annual event was also the kickoff to this year's pack activities.

"Adults know the importance of the safety of pedestrians, bicyclers and motorists, but kids do not, other than what their parents may have told them," said Forrest Johnson, Pack 50 assistant Scoutmaster.

Before the ride, Luis Lampon, Pack 50 committee chairman, educated the youngsters on how to stay safe on the road.

Tips included wearing helmets; checking tire pressure and brakes prior to riding; being aware of surroundings and traffic; knowing and using hand signals to indicate turns; and riding single file.

"We're a Family-oriented program," Lampon said. "This is an opportunity for children and parents to get out and have a safe ride in the community. It's important for kids to have a happy, safe, healthy year."

In addition to teaching the boys smart riding techniques, the rodeo also helped Cubs achieve more "belt loops," which help them progress in Scout ranks, Johnson noted. Children also registered their bicycles with Fort Rucker military police during the event.

"We're providing a service to Families, instilling values and citizenship," he said. "We're turning boys into Scouts and Scouts into men. Cub Scouts helps children become the future leaders of America."

Some parents said the event positively influenced their children and will have a lasting effect.

"The instruction and obstacle courses they provide here helped my son with coordination on his bike," said 2nd Lt. Dustin Ramatowski, who attended with his son, Ashantie Chatman, 9. "I also liked how the safety brief integrated the kids."

"The experience is good for my son. The rodeo provides good group interaction," said Jennifer Henry, who rides frequently with her 7-year-old son, Austin.

Austin, and fellow Scout Nathan Heflin, 6, said the brief taught them to look before they cross streets and to watch out for traffic. Both are avid bikers and said the event made learning safety fun.

During a brief ceremony before the ride, some of the Cub Scouts earned their bobcat badges, which help them progress through the Cub Scout ranks, leading to their long-term goals of becoming Boy Scouts, Johnson said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16