Tanner Jeans Memorial Bike Rodeo readies for 6th year

June 2, 2010

By Staff

Biking can be fun, so long as it’s done safely.

Six years after 7-year-old Tanner Jeans died in a bicycle accident, the community is planning to convene for the sixth annual Tanner Jeans Memorial Bike Safety Rodeo.

Bicyclists will find a police-supervised, bike-safety instruction course and bike helmet inspections conducted by the Snoqualmie Police Department. If police determine a helmet is not up to snuff, they will provide a replacement helmet, courtesy of the Tanner Jeans Memorial Foundation.

“We’re there to help,” Snoqualmie Police Department spokeswoman Becky Munson said.

Bike safety inspections will be conducted by members of Dirt Corps and by Gregg’s Cycles.

A Snoqualmie police officer directs children through an obstacle course for the 2009 Tanner Jeans Memorial Bike Safety Rodeo. Photo contributed

“If there is anything wrong with the bikes, from a tire being needed to be inflated to a bolt needing to be tightened, they’ll fix it,” said Laurie Gibbs, president of the Tanner Jeans Memorial Foundation.

Once participants finish the obstacle course, they will receive a free T-shirt and safety certificate.

Families and children of all ages are invited to the rodeo, which is free of charge, although donations are accepted. Johnsonville Brats will provide a free lunch. Bouncers, face painters and balloon makers will entertain the crowd while children learn bike safety skills.

For $5, participants can enter to win a new bicycle donated by TREK cycles.

“It’s just grown and grown by leaps and bounds,” Gibbs said, adding that about 250 people came the first year compared to about 2,000 last year.

Her two daughters knew Jeans, which is why she got involved with the foundation.

Jeans was an athletic boy who loved all types of sports, Gibbs said. Two days after school got out for the summer in 2004, Jeans and his friends were playing on their bikes. Jeans biked out of an alleyway and collided with a pickup, sliding underneath it. The driver was unsure what had happened and slowed down, but still ran over him.

“It was very traumatic for this entire community,” Gibbs said. “This whole community came together, because we all had kids of similar ages.”

Some families got together to raise money for a park bench they could dedicate in Jeans’ honor, but they raised so much money that they decided to start the nonprofit foundation, which organizes the annual bike safety rodeo and raises money for college scholarships.

“Our mission is basically child safety,” Gibbs said. “We’ve done a lot in six years.”

The next event

Almost as soon as the bike rodeo ends, the foundation starts raising money for next year’s event. The sixth annual Tanner Jeans Memorial Foundation Golf Tournament at the TPC begins at 1:30 p.m. July 6. Tickets cost $165 per person. Contact Max Gibbs at Max.Gibbs@dpsq.com to learn more or to sponsor a hole.

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 221, or lgeggel@snovalleystar.com.

What to know

  • What: Tanner Jeans Memorial Bike Safety Rodeo
  • When: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. June 12
  • Where: Cascade View Elementary School and Community Park, 35016 S.E. Ridge St., Snoqualmie
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