Carson City’s Joey Trotter wins motor officer challenge
Carson City and Oregon motorcycle officers took home the gold last weekend at the 15th Annual Carson City Extreme Motor Officer Training Challenge.
Hillsboro Police Officer Darren Kangas won first place in the metric overall and Carson City Sheriff’s Deputy Joey Trotter won first place in the Harley overall in the competition that brought law enforcement officers from across the country to Carson City to train and improve their motorcycle skills.
“It went very well, all of our riders had a blast this year,” said Carson City Sgt. Earl Mays.
In the Harley overall, Trotter took home first place; Steve Lee, San Francisco Police Department, took home second place; and Kevin Cook, Carson City, took home third place. In the Metric overall, Kangas, Hillsboro PD, took first; Neil Black, Lafayette, California, PD, took second; and Joey York, Reno PD, was third.
More than 30 riders tested their skills against one another. Officers from Reno, Nevada Highway Patrol, San Francisco, San Jose, Oregon, Douglas County and Carson City were all present.
“The main reason we came is because (everyone’s riding) is different,” said Hillsboro PD Officer Scott Hanley. “Everyone does it differently so you can see how it is done other places and bring that experience home. You get to pick the brains of others and use it to do better.
“Riding is a perishable skill, if you don’t use it, you lose it. It is very dangerous being in the saddle 40 hours a week, so the training is to make us on the bike quicker and safer.”
This is the first year officers from the Oregon police department have attended Carson City’s event and they said they were excited to see what some of their neighboring states were doing on the bikes.
“People say I am good, but then you come here and watch the guys who have been riding for 20 years and you see that there is just so much more to learn,” Hanley said.
Mays said this year, everyone’s favorite event was the 4-man competition as teams were picked randomly.
“You had different people and different styles of bikes to ride and you had to do it with strangers, but the feedback we got was really good with it,” Mays said. “It was fun to get to compete with people who you don’t usually.”
During the three days of training, the officers went through timed courses — used to test skills such as speed, braking, maneuvering and turning — an obstacle course, and other activities that simulate situations they may see.
“It is much more than just going around a bunch of cones,” Mays said.
For instance, in the timed course, the officers had to go up and over seesaws and curbs, make hairpin turns and avoid obstacles all while keeping control of the bike and doing it as fast as possible.
The weather did create some difficulties this year, as temperatures surpassed 90 degrees.
“It was very, very hot outside and the cotton flying around is terrible,” Mays said. “But, our riders were looking good and we did everything we could to help keep them cool.”
The purpose of the event is to have riders from across the nation come together in a friendly competition to learn and improve their motor skills with other officers.
“It is three days of unfettered training where you don’t have to worry about responding to calls you can just get out and do nothing but train,” said Carson City Deputy Gary Denham. “There are several instructors here that will help make you better and it is just good, solid training days.”
For these officers, training with the bikes is more than essential as riding a police motorcycle is no easy task.
“We have an extremely dangerous job,” Denham said. “No matter where you are, it is equally as dangerous, we all share that commonality.
“During a shift, I will have people pull up beside me and say you have the best job in the world, and I do, but you don’t understand things like in the summer you have 100 degrees coming down through your helmet, 200 degrees off the asphalt and 300 degrees coming off the motorcycle so you just sit for 10 hours feeling like a moldy quesadilla.”
Denham said the camaraderie between the officers is one of the best parts of the competition.
“You get to reunite with close friends from around the country,” Denham said. “You make so many good friends during these training sessions.
“You see the other motor officers who started at the same skill level as you and you talk and connect, and as the years go on you see each other at competitions and reunite and see how each other has progressed. It is pretty awesome to be able to watch people get better and take it to that next level, it’s like ‘look at how good you’ve gotten man!’”