Volunteers fit Gardner Edgerton School District third graders with new bike helmets on Sept. 16. Each student received a free helmet during the district’s annual bike rodeo. Photo courtesy of Leann Northway

Volunteers fit Gardner Edgerton School District third graders with new bike helmets on Sept. 16. Each student received a free helmet during the district’s annual bike rodeo. Photo courtesy of Leann Northway

USD 231 third graders gathered at Grand Star Elementary School last week to learn about bike safety at a bike rodeo.
The Sept. 16 event was the seventh annual one in the Gardner Edgerton School District.
During the rodeo each year, all third grade students receive a free bike helmet courtesy of the Head Strong for Jake Foundation and the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Hospital Employees Reaching Out, or H.E.R.O., team.
Volunteers assisted students in safety helmet checks and bike safety checks. Students could ride their bikes in an obstacle course and talk with emergency

Third graders were able to bring their bikes to the rodeo at Grand Star Elementary. Submitted photo

Third graders were able to bring their bikes to the rodeo at Grand Star Elementary. Submitted photo

personnel from the Gardner Police Department, Johnson County Med-Act, and Johnson County Fire District No. 1. Students also enjoyed a bike show and picnic on the playground.
“The weather was great, and the students had a blast learning the important safety information,” Sunflower physical education teacher and event organizer, Amy VanRheen, said. “Be looking for those Blazer blue helmets around town.”
The Headstrong for Jake Foundation was created in memory of Jake Clough, who was injured in a bicycle accident in Feb. 24, 2005. Clough, a 14-year-old from Fairway, Kan., was wearing a helmet that saved his life that day. However, he suffered a traumatic brain injury but was expected to live, thanks to his helmet. He died at Children’s Mercy Hospital after a feeding tube dislodged in his stomach.

A volunteer shows off his cycling prowess during a USD 231 bike rodeo at Grand Star Elementary School last week. Photo courtesy of Leann Northway

A volunteer shows off his cycling prowess during a USD 231 bike rodeo at Grand Star Elementary School last week. Photo courtesy of Leann Northway

Family and friends created the foundation to stress the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. Since its inception, the Headstrong for Jake Foundation has provided more than 10,000 bicycle helmets to area children.