Safety on Wheels and Bike Rodeo planned for April 1

Each year since 1995, the Grand Strand Optimist Club has presented the Safety on Wheels and Bike Rodeo as a free community project aimed at keeping kids safe. The event is from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on April 1 in the parking lot of the First Presbyterian Church at 3810 Robert Grissom Parkway in Myrtle Beach. Kids will learn safety on tricycles and bicycles, on computers and in the water.

New York Life Representatives will offer to fingerprint kids and give the fingerprint kits to parents, so that parents may put them on file with law enforcement if they choose.

The Optimist club partners with the Myrtle Beach Police and Fire/Rescue Departments for the event. Kids will get to see their vehicles and equipment. The firefighters will pass out free helmets to the kids until all the helmets purchased by the Optimist Club are gone.

Pat Henry, who chairs the event, said the club members pay out of pocket to have the event. The only way it makes any money is the small amount brought in from raffling donated items, including a remote-controlled car from Ridemakezr. Six sparkling new bikes ranging from toddler size up will be raffled. Walmart donated a boy’s and a girl’s bike, as it does annually. Bobby Kelly’s State Farm donated money for one bike, and Attorney Cliff Tall, an Optimist Club member, donated a boy’s and a girl’s bike with training wheels. Henry will purchase another one from the club. “If we make two or three hundred dollars on the raffle, there is always someone who needs it,” Henry said, naming some of the organizations that receive assistance from the club, which include Fostering Hope, the Children’s Recovery Center, Sea Haven, New Directions, the Waccamaw Youth Center, Special Olympics and others.

Kids need to take their own bikes. Beach Bike Shop personnel will be there to inspect them and make minor repairs.

The kids – with special provisions being made for the smaller kids – will ride in a “parade” behind the police Bicycle Patrol. They’ll learn about some road signs and other things to help them become safe riders. “They (kids) just think that’s super-hot,” Henry said.

A special police unit that works with Internet (cyber) crimes will be there to teach computer safety. With more children being lured through people they meet on the Internet, and with more crimes of different kinds being committed because the Internet makes it possible, If your children use computers, this valuable knowledge could save their lives, just as safety on wheels or in the water can.

Lifeguards from Lack’s Beach service will teach the kids about safety in the water and other important lessons, such as the meanings of different color flags, and about rip currents, sting rays and other dangers.

Henry said it is important that they keep the kids entertained, and Conley the Magician, who will be there, is good at that.

With a project like this, the club members reach out to family, friends and wherever they can find the help they need, and they are very grateful for all the people who will be helping, Henry said.

Boy Scouts will be handing out free water and ice. There will be free snacks for everyone. And they are hoping to have face-painting.

Since there is work going on in the parking lot, those going to the event will need to go in via Rhonda Brown Way, which is by the Fire Department.

For more information, call Henry at 231-6738.

Peggy Mishoe,, 365-3885.