Call it a motorcycle ballet - only these dancers carry guns.
Local motorcycle cops went up against their West Coast counterparts Saturday in Mills Park during the second annual Carson City Sheriff's Motorcycle Competition.
Five officers represented the department during the contest, which pitted Carson City Sheriff's own deputies Wayne Wheeler, Jarrod Adams, Bill Richards, Matt Putzer and crowd-favorite Sgt. Mike Cullen against a timed obstacle course that tested their riding skills in a series of maneuvers through coned-off obstacles with names like "the pretzel," "the snowman," the offset weave," "the barricade," and the intimidating snug "thin blue line."
Sgt. Bob Guimont played emcee while a deejay spun music (though, strangely, nothing by The Police) in a competition that took on an atmospheric mix lying somewhere between an X-Games event and a traffic stop. Results weren't yet available Saturday evening.
"If you see them crash, it means they're giving more than 100 percent," said Guimont. "These guys did not come out here to take home second place."
The rules and penalties for the event were stiff. Knock a single cone down - it'll cost you one second. Put your foot down - 2 seconds. Backing up using your feet - 10 seconds. Miss a turn or fail to perform one of the obstacles and you're out of the contest.
These guys are as serious as, well, policemen.
"Usually when we all get together like this it's because something bad has happened. Usually for a funeral or something," said Deputy Scott McCartney of the Rancho Cordova police department, who brought their powerful fleet of BMW motorcycles to the event. "This is nice change of pace," he said. The competition is fierce, but there's also a great camaraderie among the riders. You can bring the family out and have a good time."
And a little ribbing.
For one of Mike Cullen's runs, Sgt. Guimont had the DJ play a track by Shania Twain, claiming Cullen had personally requested the track for his ride.
As Sgt. Cullen rounded his Harley-Davidson through a tight section of the course called the "decreasing radius," Twain's familiar estrogen-powered anthem blared over the PA system.
"Man! I feel like a woman! Do-do-de-do-da-do-do-de-do..."
It was an unusual site.
Cullen fired back at Guimont as he crossed the line, but what really threw him was his time. He was upset at himself. He had finished three seconds slower than where he wanted to. He was already replaying the ride and noting his mistakes.
"I've still got one more run left," he vowed. "I'll get right back into this thing."
n Contact reporter Peter Thompson at email@example.com or 881-1215.