SALT LAKE CITY — Two motorcycle police officers from the Salt Lake City Police Department attended a national motorcycle competition in Texas for the first time, and one rode away with the second place Mr. Rodeo title.
“We have some very talented motor cops in our department, so I’m not surprised that they placed well,” said Interim Chief of Police Mike Brown. “Placing second in the nation is outstanding and demonstrates the high level of dedication and aptitude we have available to the citizens.”
The Capitol of Texas Police Motorcycle Chute Out held May 27-30, 2015, is a charity event that donated $20,000 to various charities last year and tests the skills of motorcycle cops from around the nation. There were a total of 85 police competitors riding various motorcycles, visiting from Texas, California, Utah, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Colorado, and Oklahoma.
“Needless to say, we are very proud,” said Lt. Jeff Kendrick, supervisor over the department’s Motorcycle Squad. Motors consists of many well-trained motorcycle riders, who are responsible for traffic enforcement throughout the City.
Officers Jaron Harker and Scott Smith hauled their BMW 1200 RT’s on a 25-hour drive to Buda, Texas, a suburb of Austin, to participate, and the competition took note.
“During our practice days we noticed some of the other top riders paying special attention to our practice runs,” said Harker. “They later approached us and said we both looked really fast and appeared to be their most difficult competition.”
Harker and Smith participated in the metric division with other riders of BMWs, Hondas, and Kawasakis. Harker placed second in the Slow Race, third in the Expert Class and fourth overall for the metric division. All riders participated in the Leonard Reed Memorial ride to honor a Texas motor officer, who died in a motorcycle accident and is best remembered as someone who loved to dance and play basketball.
“The memorial course was set up to look like the initials L.R., which officers ride through, then navigate several other obstacles before retrieving a ball on our motorcycles to make a basket, then performing the ‘moon walk’ over the finish line,” Harker said with a laugh. “Tossing in a dance and shooting a basket was challenging.”
The Mr. Rodeo title is awarded based on the combined places in the individual events, with Harker taking second in the metric division overall. Other events included two timed cone courses, the eliminator, and the partner timed course.
The Salt Lake City Police Department Motorcycle Squad utilizes BMW and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, which enable the officers to move freely through congested traffic and more effectively accomplish their mission. The squad is mostly known for its precision riding during the 24th of July parade, which is attended by thousands of community members.