When Kenzie Loredo, 5, of Seguin was handed her brand-new pink bike with training wheels, she immediately hopped on and peddled off with a smile on her face.
Kenzie was one of many children who won a new bike at the 14th Annual Badges, Bikes and Tykes Picnic hosted by the Seguin Police Department on Saturday at the Starcke Park pavilion.
Children had a chance to meet the men and women of the Seguin Police Department and Seguin Fire Department, as well as several other law enforcement agencies from around the area such as Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office.
Seguin Police Lt. Mike McCann said the event went well. Despite the light rain, they were pleasantly surprised by the number of people who turned out, he said.
“Everybody’s having a good time,” he said. “The kids are laughing and playing. They’re getting to interact with the firefighters and the police officers, which is exactly what we wanted.”
Most interactions that children have with police tend to be not in the best light, McCann said, such as when there’s a car wreck or someone did something wrong.
Which is why the annual event is so important to the area first responders, McCann said.
“This event allows us to interact with kids on a one-on-one basis,” he said. “They get to see that we’re people. They get to play with us. They get to laugh with us. They get to play games. That’s the whole point. We’re just people like they are.”
In total, 97 bikes, 15 skateboards, four gift cards and almost 1,000 hotdogs, chips and drinks were given away.
When Kenzie realized she won her bike, she turned to her mother, Natalie Loredo, and said, “Mom, I’m so excited that I won!”
“We actually came last year and she didn’t win, so she was so excited,” Natalie said.
She said that Kenzie and her other children were loving the event, and that even with the rain, everyone was out enjoying the day and having fun.
“I love that the kids can come and enjoy all the different games, win different prizes. She (Kenzie) even got her hand painted,” she said. “I love that they offer food and water. We came last year too and my kids loved it.”
Kayla Engelmann, of Seguin, came out with her two sons and said they were also having a good time.
“The event is pretty fun, the kids like it,” she said. “They’ve won two bikes today. We come out every year because they enjoy the games and try to win a bike.”
Kenzie enjoyed getting to meet the city’s emergency personnel, particularly the Seguin police officers, Loredo said.
“She said when she grows up, she wants to be a cop,” she said. “She collects their trading cards that are given out for each officer she has met.”
McCann hoped the children that came out saw the Seguin police and firefighters as a positive influence and know that they’re there for them.
“We want them to know that if they ever have any problems — and it doesn’t have to be a criminal issue, it can be just a question — we are adults they can trust and ask us,” he said. “We are people who live and work in this community, care about this community and most importantly, we care about them.”