ELLINWOOD — A break in time allowed the Ellinwood Police Department to slip in an activity for children Saturday morning.
On short notice, Ellinwood Sgt. Kyle Reed was tasked with organizing a cycling rally for the weekend in the parking lot of the Ellinwood municipal swimming pool, and everything came together for the young cyclists to hone their skills and practice safety rules. With help from the Barton County Health Department and the Great Bend Pilot Club, bikers were given neon-colored helmets and ray skins for reflectivity and a bit of style.
It has been several years since the community hosted the event, and the pandemic has limited group activities, so this year seemed like the perfect time, Sgt. said Reed. “COVID hit and all these kids were there. The pool was closed; they had nothing to do. Now that COVID has sort of set in, it’s come to my attention,” he said.
In the past, the local Lions Club sponsored cycling events, but none had been offered for several years. During that time, several accidents involving bicycles occurred, noted Ellinwood Police Chief Chance Bailey.
“We recognized the need to make the cycle rally an annual event,” Chief Bailey said.
Early June seems like a good time, before warm weather sets in, harvest begins, and other summer activities arrive.
“We want to do this next year, maybe make it an annual thing,” said Sgt. said Reed. “That first time was a quick affair; the leaflets were made last Monday.
Additional bike safety, expansion of a safety fair, with an Ident-a-Kid booth are ideas that could be incorporated. “We have the After Harvest Festival for adults and it’s around the corner. We need things like this for kids,” said Sgt. said Reed.