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New day, new era for Snoqualmie's memorial bike rodeo

Zach Hartman, 4, of Fall City, gets a lesson in stop signs from police officer Michel Boas during the Tanner Jeans Bike Safety Rodeo last June. The rodeo returns June 1.  - Seth Truscott/Staff Photo
Zach Hartman, 4, of Fall City, gets a lesson in stop signs from police officer Michel Boas during the Tanner Jeans Bike Safety Rodeo last June. The rodeo returns June 1.
— image credit: Seth Truscott/Staff Photo

The ninth Bike Safety Rodeo in memory of Snoqualmie boy Tanner Jeans is back this weekend.

The rodeo, hosted by Snoqualmie Police, is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at Snoqualmie Ridge Community Park. The event starts with a children’s parade at 10:45 a.m., starting from the park.

The safety rodeo is the highlight of a more low-key year for the Tanner Jeans Memorial Foundation, which formed a decade ago as a reaction to the accidental death of Tanner Jeans, 7, of Snoqualmie.

With the departure of founder Laurie Gibbs and her husband Max in 2012, the nonprofit foundation is not actively fundraising this year.

“Laurie and Max are definitely irreplaceable,” said Christen Jeans, Tanner’s mother, and treasurer for the six-person foundation board.

It was a decade ago when Tanner was killed in a bicycle accident in Snoqualmie. As the then-small community gathered at the scene on June 23, 2003, someone suggested raising funds for a memorial park bench.

That effort grew into one of the largest children’s safety events in the state. Former executive director Laurie Gibbs started the foundation after she received $15,000 in donations for Tanner’s memorial within two months.

The Gibbs family moved to Virginia last year.

“They did so much for the foundation,” Christen Jeans said. “It’s been challenging with them gone.”

The foundation has three simple goals: Increasing safety awareness among local youth; Boosting healthy lifestyle via sports; and promoting education. Tanner’s cause raised thousands of dollars to put on the annual bike safety rodeo, offer elite-sports program scholarships to Valley athletes, donate to educational programs in Snoqualmie Valley Schools, and, in one of its first acts, establish two full scholarships to the University of Washington for one boy and one girl from what would have been Tanner’s graduating class, the class of 2015.

Tanner would have been 16 this year. The foundation is still on track to award scholarships, and will select the recipients in future, Jeans said.

Meanwhile, the foundation continues to support the annual rodeo. Snoqualmie Police and the Snoqualmie Emergency Workers Association are organizing the event, with financial support from the foundation.

 

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