Oleson Park Celebration

From bike rides to bike tune-ups and healthy snacks, park was the place

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Greyson Chance, 8, of Fort Dodge, lets one fly during a mini bags game against his brother Paxton Chance, 5, Tuesday night at Oleson Park.

When Caden Waychoff, 12, of Fort Dodge, heard there was going to be a bike ride at Oleson Park Tuesday night, he had to check it out for himself.

An adult bike ride and bike maintenance station were two activities offered during the Prairie Rivers Trail expansion and the Oleson Park Master Plan celebration.

Waychoff read a pamphlet about the event that was left on his doorstep.

“As soon as I saw bike ride, I knew I was going,” he said.

Waychoff hopped on his bicycle with his teddy bear backpack and headed to the park. Although the bike ride was just for adults, Waychoff got some advice from Gene Walker, of The Bike Shop.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Caden Waychoff, 12, of Fort Dodge, right, gets some help with his bike from Gene Walker, of The Bike Shop during the Prairie Rivers Trail Expansion Oleson Park Celebration Tuesday night.

Walker aired up his tires and made any other bike repairs needed for attendees.

Waychoff, a seventh-grader at Fort Dodge Middle School, said his mom bought him the bike last week.

“I was so surprised,” he said.

He rides the bike around his block two or three times before he goes to school each morning, he said.

“I just love riding,” he said.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Members of the Dodger Cyclist Club take off on an adult bike ride during the Prairie Rivers Trail Expansion Oleson Park Celebration Tuesday night. Among them are Diane Carter, John Carton, Rhonda McFadden, Alan McFadden, Dennis Feddersen, and Ron Jacobson, all of Fort Dodge.

When Waychoff goes to the park he usually brings his backpack.

“I pack light,” he said. “I usually put a couple water bottles in there.”

“It comes in handy,” he said.

As for the bear’s name, Waychoff said all of his bears are named Teddy.

“I lost my favorite one in third grade,” he said. “My newest one is Teddy Jr., the third.”

The city of Fort Dodge is looking to connect more of its trails on the south side of town, according to Jared Foss, of Snyder & Associates. Snyder & Associates developed the Prairie Rivers Trail expansion plan.

“Right now there is not many connections to the south portion of the community,” he said.

Foss said he had received numerous comments about connecting 15th Street.

The trails plan identifies four goals: Provide a complete bicycle and pedestrian system with connections to various destinations; increase biking and walking trips for health, recreation and transportation; ensure safety for all when biking and walking; and develop a marketing plan to promote the Prairie Rivers Trail System.

For now, Waychoff said he is sticking mostly to sidewalks.

“I go on the trails at Kennedy sometimes,” he said. “Those are pretty easy. I stick to the sidewalks a lot of times too.”

Rhonda McFadden, a member of the Dodger Cyclist Club, said she’s looking forward to more trails in town.

“Trails are nice because you don’t have to worry about vehicles as much,” she said. “It’s safer.”

While some adults went on bike rides, others stayed behind with their children, participating in scavenger hunts and other games.

Greyson Chance, 8, of Fort Dodge, and his little brother, Paxton Chance, 5, played a game of mini bags.

Bags is a game in which the players take turns throwing bean bags at a raised box with a hole in the far end.

The two decided not to finish the game. Instead they opted for some of the healthy snacks provided at the event.

“Neither of us won,” Greyson Chance said.

Paxton Chance said his favorite activity was the scavenger hunt.

“I like scavenger hunts,” he said. “You get to hunt for stuff.”

The city of Fort Dodge, Healthy Webster County Coalition, Fort Dodge Community Foundation, Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, Webster County Conservation, Fort Dodge Cyclist Club, and Fort Dodge Bike Shop were on hand.