Oklahoma 4-H youth share ATV safety knowledge.
STILLWATER, Okla. – With the growing popularity of riding ATVs, some Oklahoma 4-H’ers are using their creativity to make sure everyone rides safely.
And for a select few, their creativity garnered some national attention.
Jacob Sestak, a 4-H’er in Lincoln County, was named the national winner of the Do the Ride Thing video contest, sponsored by the ATV Safety Institute, Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the Right Rider Access Fund. He developed a short public service announcement video to promote safe and responsible ATV riding. He was awarded the $2,500 grand prize. Elizabeth Klumpp, an Oklahoma County 4-H'er from Edmond, placed first in the 11-14 year old category and was awarded a $500 prize. In addition, 4-H'er Ryan Dillow, also of Edmond, placed third in the same age group and won $200.
“I really like to ride ATVs. It’s something I’ve grown up with and enjoy,” said the 15-year-old Sestak, who is from Prague. “It was my dad who got me interested in riding them.”
Sestak’s father, Ross Sestak, took the certification course to become a certified instructor for the ATV project in the Oklahoma 4-H Program. Ross Sestak is the Extension educator for the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension office in Lincoln County.
“While my dad was becoming certified we learned there were things we had been doing wrong that we didn’t even know about, so that inspired me to get involved in the program to make myself more safe when riding the ATVs,” Jacob Sestak said. “This is something we really need to push because so many people don’t realize all of the safety aspects associated with ATVs. Before my dad was certified we thought we knew what we were doing, but after going through the certification we learned we didn’t have a clue.”
Sestak said he hopes the people who see his video will realize the importance of riding safely and that the ATV Safety Institute’s hands-on ATV RiderCourse is important for anyone who plans to ride an ATV.
Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Klumpp has very close ties to the ATV safety program. Her father, Mike Klumpp, is the ATV Safety Coordinator for the OSU Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Program.
“It’s important for anyone riding an ATV to learn how to do it safely. If they don’t know the safety rules, they’re going to get hurt,” Elizabeth Klumpp said. “Going through this course is a safeguard for kids.”
She said she enjoyed working on her 30-second PSA video and believes people who see it will get more out of it than if they were simply handed a pamphlet with safety information.
“Watching this video is more fun than reading about ATV safety,” she said. “It’s important for kids to learn all aspects of safe riding, not only for handling the machine, but also the safety gear that’s required. If you’re not wearing the right gear, you’re going to get hurt if you come off the ATV.”
She said the training she has received paid off when she was riding in the pasture and took a corner a little too fast.
“The wheels started to come off the ground, but I remembered what I was taught in the RiderCourse. I shifted my weight to the inside of the turn and the wheels went back down. My training definitely came in handy that day,” she said.
Mike Klumpp said interest in the ATV Safety Institute's ATV RiderCourse offered through the OSU Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Program continues to grow.
“We’ve been teaching ATV safety for several years in 4-H. We’ve got a number of trained instructors across the state who can teach the hands-on curriculum,” Mike Klumpp said. “Our main goal with the hands-on course, the classroom course, as well as the online course that’s available, is to provide safety education and injury prevention information and teach the participants critical thinking skills.”
Currently more than 6,000 students have gone through the two-hour classroom course, and nearly 500 youth have completed the five-hour hands-on RiderCourse. The new safety online course, offered through ASI, was completed by nearly 1,000 students in 2013. The online course can be found at www.atvsafety.org.
“I think the young people and adults who have completed these safety courses have a better understanding of what it takes to ride an ATV safely. It will take a while before the program shows a lot of results, but we have our long-range goals in place,” he said. “We already have trainings scheduled this spring for more adults to become licensed instructors.”