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Thrice the fun

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

The rain held off Friday morning just long enough for the Hays Area Children's Center's Trike-a-Thon.

Bundled in jackets and caps, the infants and toddlers were happy to be outdoors in spite of the clouds and chilly breeze.

HACC officials decided to fit the event in between the rain showers if possible, said Doug Greer, executive director.

"The kids are so excited. We don't want to disappoint the children," he said.

At first the youngsters were more interested in exchanging hugs and high fives with the Cat in the Hat from Hays Public Library, Bubba Bear from Sunflower Bank and Victor E. Tiger, the Fort Hays State University mascot.

While the infants rode in a stroller with seats for four, trikes and bikes soon got the toddlers' attention.

Tammy Batt looked on as her daughter, Tayler Batt, 2, rode her brightly colored plastic inchworm.

"It doesn't seem to bother them it's a little cool," Tammy Batt said.

Dale and Carole Bobine, Great Bend, came to see their grandson, Dylan Gregg, 3, ride his bike.

He just got the bicycle outfitted with training wheels a few weeks ago, said his father, Shane Gregg.

"His old one wore out," Gregg said.

"It's his first year riding a bike. He usually rides a trike," said Amy Gregg, his mother.

"He rides on the drive(way) at home in circles. Here he can go," Carole Bobine said.

The event has a serious side -- encouraging safe habits.

"It's to try to get kids used to stop signs and being around people, using crosswalks and looking both ways," said Cliff Denny of the FHSU Police Department. "Once they are used to them, they will be ingrained."

Besides the traditional orange traffic cones, there were blue, yellow, green and purple creating a course for the riders.

The event is a HACC fundraiser. Letters with the child's handprint were sent to family and friends asking for donations. Funds go to the classrooms and other programs at the center.

After riding, the children received a snack and a gift bag.

Adults will take up the challenge May 5 at the Rope 'em Ride for recreational and serious riders.