Watching Cops Compete

Readers and friends are aware that I enjoy watching skilled motorcycle riders — motorcops — compete in what is commonly called a “police rodeo.” I have had the pleasure of watching many of these competitions and serving as a judge for the past two years at one of the largest such competitions held on the U.S. East Coast. So naturally, a friend asked, “are you going to attend the motorcycle skills competition on the 23rd in Wayne, New Jersey?”

Answer — no. Wayne, New Jersey, is at least 230 miles and a minimum of five hours north of where I live by high-speed, wild-ass-driving interstate highway with expensive tolls. Or if I wanted to use non-toll “back roads,” the ride would be longer and take much more time.

Ah, time, that precious commodity — so many demands for it, so little of it to meet the demands.

Sure, if I were not working, single, and didn’t have this pesky chronic health condition that restricts me from riding more than 100 miles without having to stop, take a break, stretch, eat, pee and poop — I might consider it.

Logistically, though, riding to New Jersey to watch cops compete is not something I want to do. It’s not a day trip for me. I would have to ride all day the day before, stay in a hotel (another expense), watch the competition, stay overnight again in a hotel, then ride Nope…. Plus, while my Harley is in good mechanical shape, I wouldn’t want to ride that far alone.

I don’t chase cops. Sure, I enjoy watching them ride, but once a year in the local competition is sufficient. I ride with cops regularly anyway (though not booted in uniform). Being with or around cops is no big deal. They pull their boots on one foot at a time, like I do. Plus, like anyone, they prefer to socialize when not competing with each other, not with some random boot aficionado.

Instead of riding all the way to New Jersey, I would prefer to spend my precious time with my beloved partner, loving family, delightful senior pals, and accomplishing tasks on the never-ending “to-do” list at home. Perhaps work a ride in as I go about my daily business, too. It’s all good. I’m happy with my love (my partner), and those with whom I share love (family and friends), and that’s about it.

Life is short: know your limits.

2 thoughts on “Watching Cops Compete

  1. Hi, BHD,

    I am thinking about attending a motorcycle cop competition as a spectator. I like looking at cops and I am quite serious about photography (as an art form), so I thought those events might be fun.

    Do those events typically welcome civilians to just go and watch? Are there specific events that you recommend? (traveling anywhere in the US is not a problem with me).



  2. Greg, “civilians” like me and hundreds of others attend these events often and many take pictures. Cops stage these events in public just for that purpose — they like to demonstrate their riding skills.

    You will have to stay behind fences, gates, or cones. Unless there is a specific exception, organizers of police rodeos do not want photographers on the actual course during the event for the safety of both the riders and the photographer. You will see a few photographers on the course; they are usually affiliated with the event organization or a law enforcement agency. But most folks have to stay outside the fence. I have been fortunate to serve as a judge for two years, so I’m familiar with the rules and safety precautions.

    The only motorcycle police competition with which I am familiar is the Mid-Atlantic Motorcycle Skills Competition, which I have attended for 10 years and served as a judge for the past two. It’s great, and well-attended. I’m sorry, but I don’t know about how well it would be worth your while to attend events held elsewhere. You have the most fun as a photographer when there are a large number of entries.

    Don’t expect the cops to be all chummy and your next best friend. They tend to stick with their own, and their families. They will, however, answer questions and some may even pose for photos if asked respectfully.

    Please go to any events you wish. Have fun!

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