4-Her’s Learn ATV Safety


ATV riders thrive off the smell of exhaust and a challenging course to tackle.

That’s exactly what happened to number of 4-H kids in Parke County.

Not only did they create memories, they also learned the importance of ATV safety.

Rebecca Brumfield traveled to the Parke County Fairgrounds for the story.

With the new helmet law just taking affect July first and many ATV accidents happening here recently in the Valley this training couldn’t have been scheduled for a better time.

Riders of all ages, ranging from third graders to seniors in high school, decked out in helmets, safety wear, and goggles conquer a track designed to increase spacial awareness and tilt control.

“The kids are just fantastic,” says Denise Bannon. “So we love being with the kids and showing them how [to be safe] and they listen.”

Both Denise Bannon and her husband Jerry are certified safety instructors through Purdue.

They’ve been giving back to their community for a full decade.

One of their returning riders, Colten Harkrider, has been racing since he was four-years-old.

For him, feeling the throttle served many purposes.

“When I was around 16, I did lose my mother,” says Harkrider. “And ATV riding was kind of my turn to thing. It was my release.”

For Harkrider, racing, riding with friends or anything on the ATV, let’s him feel like he’s on top of the world.

“It’s a lot of fun and that’s why I do it…for the adrenaline rush,” says Harkrider.

But even he knows, safety is ultimately the most important.

“In general, it’s just all important,” says Harkrider. “I mean, it doesn’t matter where you are at, where you live at, who you are. This can affect anyone.”

4-Hers and their parents leave with more than just new friends.

They leave with new skills, new limits, new expectations and new survival tips.

“That’s the whole goal,” says Bannon. “Is to show them, that they can get out of a jam safely and to shift their weight.”

The riders went through the course, pushing barrels out of the way, squeezing through tight spaces, riding on two tires and even going over obstacles like the see-saw.

Along with the course portion which you saw, 4-Hers also learned how to properly secure an ATV onto a trailer.

They sat through a written test portion, and even learned the parts of an ATV to learn how to fix any mechanical issues.

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