Sheriff's department hosts motorcycle contest

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Law enforcement officers get ready to take a practice run at the Mills Park course Saturday morning.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Law enforcement officers get ready to take a practice run at the Mills Park course Saturday morning.

After watching motorcycle police officers maneuver a tightly winding course during a competition Saturday, a civilian climbed on his sport bike to try it out.

Missing the first turn, he drove through a line of cones, applied the brakes, and put his foot down. Then his motorcycle stalled.

"It's super hard," Dean Deming said later.

"It's timing, it's positioning, it's all the throttle, brakes and clutch control. It's 15 different things at the same time, and everything has to be perfectly balanced. It really makes you appreciate what these guys do."

Seventeen officers from Nevada and California each made three trips through the course on Oxoby Loop through Mills Park. It was the first motorcycle officer competition hosted by the Carson City Sheriff's Department.

Sgt. Mike Cullen, head of the Carson motorcycle officers, designed the competition after one he attended last year Vallejo, Calif.

"It's a lot of fun for the cops, but it's also an event for the community to come out and see what we do," he said between runs. "This gives them a chance to see how hard some of what we do is."

When Cullen was 3, he rode on a bike with his father, Brian, who attended Saturday's competition.

"Yeah, I would call riding a passion," Sgt. Cullen said. "Or an addiction."

Sheriff Kenny Furlong, who alternated emcee duties with Undersheriff Steve Albertsen, also tried the course. He steered his Honda Gold Wing into the first turn, but, like Deming, couldn't make it. He used his feet to guide the big bike off the course.

"Don't quit your day job!" hollered spectator Jim Quilici.

The motorcycle cops make it look easy, he said.

"It's pretty impressive the way they throw those 800-pound bikes around."

Officers at the competition included Las Vegas Metro, Las Vegas Nevada Highway Patrol, and some from Rancho Cordova and Vallejo, Calif.

"We hope to do this every year," Albertsen said. "We hope to attract officers from all over the West, and we hope to get more spectators every year. These are excellent motorcycle riders. This is a very tough course - as you can see."

As he spoke, the sound of steel scraping on pavement came from an officer's Harley-Davidson foot boards as it negotiated a turn.

The course started with a "snowman" of three circles with diameters of 21, 19 and 18 feet. Then there was a series of 90-degree turns, a slow weave, a figure-eight, a maze in the shape of Nevada, a "flat cat" maze with very tight turns and a final circular turn with a decreasing radius to the finish.

Rides were timed. Two seconds were added for each cone knocked over. Any rider whose bike fell over was disqualified for that round. Three or four bikes went down in the first two hours. Volunteers from motorcycle clubs such as the Blue Knights, Silver Knights and Sierra Sportbike Association acted as judges.

Carson City reserve deputies and cadets sold T-shirts and hamburgers. All proceeds went to Deputy Brian Morton whose 10-year-old daughter, Hailey, must have open-heart surgery.

Donations may be made to the Morton family at any Bank of America branch, Fund for Hailey Morton, Account No. 0049 6858 1793. Donations will also be accepted at the Sheriff's Department, 901 E. Musser St.

After Saturday's contest, riders with the shortest times were awarded trophies during a banquet at Casino Fandango.

Contact Karl Horeis at or 881-1219.


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