The 22nd annual Southwest Police Motorcycle Training and Competition puts moto-mounted cops to the test, and raises money for the Special Olympics

I’m frequently baffled by motorcycle cops’ ability to keep up with me while I'm splitting lanes on a 600cc sportbike. It was only after spending a couple years riding different motorcycles that I became aware of how skilled most motorcycle cops truly are. Maneuvering a dresser-sized bike outfitted with close to 100 extra pounds of police gear isn’t easy, especially with a radio buzzing in your ear and the expectation of actively patrolling and surveying one's surroundings. It’s a damn tall order, but spending tens of hours each week in the saddle undeniably helps these men and women hone their riding skills to a ridiculous extent.

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More than 20 years ago, a few like minded cops from the American Southwest decided to celebrate their riding skills by putting on a competition for motorcycle-mounted patrol officers. Since its inception, the competition has grown to include officers from well over a dozen agencies from all over Nevada, California, and Arizona. On top of competing, organizers decided to throw the "cop-comp" for a cause, opting to generate and donate funds to the Special Olympics.

Retired moto-cop Toby Ehrler explains to local news how the event works.

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This year marked the 22nd annual Southwest Police Motorcycle Training and Competition, which drew 109 different motorcycle cops from 20 different agencies around the American Southwest. On April 13 and 14, a Phoenix mall parking lot became the impromptu venue for the competition, where hundreds of orange cones made up the course.

"If they touch a cone, there's a penalty, if they knock a cone over there's a penalty, if they put a foot down or drop the motorcycle there's substantial penalties," explained retired Phoenix Police Department officer and 2018 competition organizer Toby Ehrler.

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A rider, a bike, a whole lot of equipment, and a sea of orange cones

"There are certain skills and certain exercises that we do practice on a regular basis," said Phoenix Police Officer Kurtis Merena. “So those certain obstacles, we do set up out here throughout the year and it does help when we come to this sort of competition course. Collectively, I want to say between Phoenix, Vegas and Southern Arizona we raised close to a million dollars over the years.”

Whether it’s painting tanks to benefit our troops, riding 680 miles with no hands to fight Parkinson’s, trekking 2,500 miles to deliver kibble to starving dogs, or customizing a badass MV Agusta to raffle of for St. Judes, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; it’s always great to see people in the motorcycling world find cool ways to enact positive change through riding.

Source/Photos/Video: Fox 10 News

Cover photo by Steven Georges

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