Photo: Denise Civiletti

More then 50 very determined youngsters arrived at Stotzky Park early Saturday morning to compete in the Riverhead PAL Bike Rodeo.

The annual competition, open to kids in grades kindergarten through six, requires cyclists to demonstrate excellent control of a bicycle a half-dozen separate tests of skill and concentration — maneuvering around cones, riding along a straight line as slow as possible, building speed and coming to a complete stop as close to a finish line as possible without crossing over, and more.

The rodeo is designed to teach bicycle handling skills and safety and at the same time foster interaction between youth and police officers, who oversee and score each competitive course, offering tips and encouragement and high-fives.

Top scorers in each grade group won new bikes, from left: Madison Messina, Freddie Boese, Vania Sofoif, Chris Contreras and Summer Releander. (Not pictured: Michael Brabant.) Photo: Denise Civiletti

Top scorers in each grade grouping — K-2, 3-4 and 5-6 — won brand new bicycles. There were lots of other prizes, too, including awards for performance, effort, enthusiasm, safety and “coolest helmet.”

Madison Messina and Freddie Boese won new bikes in the K-2 group, Vania Sofoif and Michael Brabant won new bikes in the grades 3-4 group, and Chris Contreras and Summer Releander and won new bikes in the grades 5-6 group.

Besides new bicycles — donated by Tuthill-Mangano Funeral Home, Long Island Ice & Fuel, Riverhead Superior Officers Association, Riverhead Building Supply, RiverheadLOCAL and Riverhead PBA — kids took home a slew of prizes in each grade grouping, including:

  • $50 and $25 Target gift cards donated by Riverhead PBA
  • Two tickets to Splish-Splash, donated by the water park
  • Two hours of unlimited bowling and shoe rentals for six at the All Star, donated by the bowling alley
  • Two tickets to the L.I. Aquarium, donated by the aquarium
  • Breakfast, lunch or dinner fro two at IHOP
  • $20 gift certificate donated by Moe’s Southwest Grill
  • $15 gift certificate donated by Goldberg’s Bagels
  • $20 gift certificate donated by Roadhouse Pizza
  • $10 gift certificate donated by Dari-Land
  • Ice cream sundaes donated by Snowflake

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Denise Civiletti

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.