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Home » Uncategorized » Health Council’s VIVA Bike Rodeo wrangles kids to get active and stay safe

Health Council’s VIVA Bike Rodeo wrangles kids to get active and stay safe


August 2, 2023; Silver City, NM:  The Grant County Community Health Council (GCCHC) worked in partnership with Silver Consolidated School District, New Mexico Department of Health, and local bike shop “The Bike Works” to put on the Viva Bike Rodeo. The purpose of the event was to provide outreach education to emphasize the importance of physical activity and bicycle safety for local youth.

VIVA Bike Rodeo participant, Nellie Grijalva, rode her bike around the obstacle course at Gough Park on July 26, 2023.  Photo courtesy Silver Consolidated School District.

“This was truly a team effort,” GCCHC Coordinator Valerie Kling said of the Viva Bike Rodeo. “It was a special opportunity to work with local partners, youth, and families in Grant County.”

The Viva Bike Rodeo was made possible by a VIVA Connects Grant. The grant was awarded on behalf of the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center (UNM PRC) VIVA Connects with Center for Health Innovation’s Shaping Perspective in our Kid’s Environment (SPOKE) project. This project is important because active travel to school has been historically the lowest among high school students.

Only 35 percent of students in kindergarten through eighth grade, who lived within a mile of school, usually walked or bicycled to school even once a week, according to the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

It is crucial that the GCCHC promotes safe and effective ways for youth and families to engage in regular physical activity. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to promote an increase in activities of daily living (ADLs) including regular commutes to school and/or work – and promoting safer routes. GCCHC and Silver Consolidated School District are dedicated to emphasizing the importance of physical activity and safety to local community leaders by raising awareness about these issues.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) physical activity is important in the prevention of obesity and chronic disease including heart disease, Type II diabetes, and some cancers.

UNM PRC works to aid communities in New Mexico in adapting and implementing evidence-based physical activity recommendations. Creating safe and accessible venues for physical activity is an important strategy for public health, and community leaders can implement these strategies to reduce the incidence of chronic disease in their communities.

Grant County Continuum of Youth Services program coordinator Ruth Dirmeyer attended the rodeo with her son, Dirmeyer. Ruth said “I sure enjoyed visiting the Bike Rodeo! That was such a unique and beneficial community event you orchestrated!”

“Aidan had a blast and I’m sure the kids who attended also did,” Ruth added, “We bike ride a lot here in Tyrone, so even last night when we went riding, Aidan reminded me of the safety tips he learned at the activity stations. Thank you also for the prize bags for the kids. The first aid kit included is now strapped onto my son’s bike with little bungee cords. He said now if he falls while riding, he can put a band-aid on right away.”

Silver City Police Department and New Mexico State Police attended the VIVA Bike Rodeo to ensure the safety of riders.

“We were grateful to have the support of local law enforcement,” Kling said. “It takes passion and investment in your community to be present when it matters. Local law enforcement partners showed up in support of their community, and that matters.”

Each child received a “safety checklist” of activities to complete. The activities included “Look Both Ways Freeze Dance” emphasizing the importance of street and railroad crossing safety, “Vehicle Safety and Awareness” to highlight preventative efforts associated with backover incidents, “Red Light/Green Light” for traffic light color identification and education, and “Traffic Sign Identification” safety sheet for an introduction to common traffic sign identification. 

Once the child completed all the activities on their checklist, they received a prize. Approximately 53 youths completed safety activities and received a prize.

The GCCHC recently was transferred from the management of Grant County to the Center for Health Innovation, a nonprofit that serves as the Public Health Institute of New Mexico and manages the Hidalgo County Health Council.

For information contact Kling at or visit