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Minibike rodeo at Marysville Y to reward students

MARYSVILLE A whole bunch of local kids will be riding their way out of trouble at the YMCA Sept. 8-9.
The Marysville Y is hosting the National Youth Program Using Minibikes Rodeo for two days to reward students who have put their shoulders to a series of challenges. Many of the kids were having troubles maintaining their grades, some might have had an early brush with the law; others were noticed because they werent living up to their potential.
In the NYPUM program they are given a trio of goals they and their parents help choose. Then their progress is monitored and rewarded with time in the saddle, riding the motorcycles for up to two hours each week when they meet their goals. The goals can include completing and staying ahead with their homework, improving their grades, or performing community service, according to Regina Wike, teen programs director with the Marysville YMCA.
I think they get a lot out of it, Wike said. They do get really excited about riding the bikes, especially when we go trail riding.
This weekend they will be celebrating with the rodeo, riding the minibikes provided by the American Honda Motor Co. But they dont just hop on the bikes and have a good time; thats when the discipline really kicks in, according to Wike. Students and riders, they learn how the bikes work and how to maintain them, including keeping the engines and brakes clean and running smoothly.
They have to do everything from start to finish so its character building in that sense, Wike explained.
The program aims to develop self-esteem and a sense of responsibility in the youths, ages 10 to 17 years old, with the minibikes are the bait to encourage them along. They are tracked according to a self-improvement contract they and their parents sign at the beginning of the program. The riding time is the reward, and riding in the rodeos is the payoff only for those who have fulfilled their contracts, Wike added. There will be tests to showcase their riding skills, precision tasks and safety awareness.
Sometimes they go to various sites in Snohomish County including the Reeder Pits, Walker Valley and Dairyland near Snohomish; usually its the dirt track at a counselors home. There are about 50 kids in the program at any given time, and half are active and staying current with their goals.
The NYPUM Rodeo will be held at the Marysville YMCA, 6420 60th Drive NE, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8, and at a private track the next day. The public is welcome to the Saturday event.

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