March 25 – 27, 2010
By Sergeant Eric Debus
The idea for a police motorcycle rodeo in Coppell, Texas was born when Officers from the Coppell Police Department wanted to raise funds for a fallen officer memorial. They got their chance and in 2009 they chose to host the first ever police motorcycle rodeo in their city. The event was so successful that they were able to go on to select March 25 – 27, 2010 for the 2nd Annual Coppell Police Motorcycle Competition.
Eager to begin the planning for the 2010 rodeo, work began in November of 2009 with Officer Joshua Jackson lining up corporate sponsors and their donations to help fund the event. Contact was made with Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S), Metroplex Chapter and they were excited to be the recipient of any funds raised through this event. While Officer Jackson worked to find sponsors, other members of the Coppell traffic unit began networking with other agencies to generate motor-jock interest. What began in 2009 with 28 entrants grew to 44 competitors for 2010. Officers from around the state and as far away as Chula Vista, California arrived on Thursday, March 25 to begin to practice and train for the official competition on Saturday.
Coppell Officers have been fortunate to train and compete at various events. They have drawn from the experience of other competitions to make this, their home town event, special. One example of what they brought to the show is what is called the “red light” exercise which is an individual mirror pattern course. Riders enter a center gate and then turn right and make a u-turn left, or turn left and make a u-turn right. Proving to be an intense run, as the competitor enters the pattern they trip a sensor that randomly lights up a red light on either the right or left side. The rider then has to avoid the light by riding the pattern in the opposite direction. This course challenges the rider’s skill by forcing them to practice going both left and right, working their agility. Come Saturday, when the timed competition began, it became a quick-thinking and decision making process on how best to avoid the red light. This was one of the most exciting courses to watch officer attempt!
Sgt. Toby Bowen and Sgt. Eric Debus, both of the Coppell Police Department, competed in San Diego County Motor Officer’s Association Motorcycle Competition in 2009 and brought fresh new ideas to this year’s event. Added to the fun of this year’s rodeo was a two-man follow the leader event, a four-man follow the leader, and the “Coppell Challenge”. The Coppell Challenge is a Top-Gun event where competing officers attempt to cause each other to commit an error while riding inside a pattern. It was a single elimination event that, to no ones surprise, was won by Officer Rusty Rea from Chula Vista, CA. While the California Officers had the benefit of prior experience on this one, the Texas Officers are anxiously awaiting a rematch next year.Rounding out the competition, Officer Donnie Williams, representing McKinney, Texas PD, defended his “fastest clean run” title by again whipping the other riders in the individual event. With this win, Officer Williams proudly retained the coveted blue denim vest that is passed along each year to the fastest rider.
During the competition an estimated crowd of 1000 took part in the festivities and visited the many vendor booths that were present. The adjacent park was a favorite spot for the smaller kids to play while moms and dads watched the action on the course. Leading up to the event Sgt. Debus and Officer Jackson met with various motorcycle rider groups to advertise the rodeo. This worked out well as about a dozen different motorcycle “gangs” were represented to show their support. The event turn-out was phenomenal and the support shown to the riders and C.O.P.S was overwhelming.
Thanks to all of the participants and attendees of the Coppell Motorcycle Rodeo, coming out and showing your support made the 2010 competition a resounding success with $12,000.00 raised for Concerns of Police Survivors. Plans are already under way for next year’s event….stay tuned.