Talk about your tough driving test.
Police officers from across the country came to Grapevine Mills mall Saturday to compete in the Grapevine-Coppell Police Motorcycle Rodeo.
The free rodeo hosted 70 riders and thousands of spectators.
Grapevine Police Chief Eddie Salame called the police rodeo an exciting event that featured some of the most skilled motorcycle riders in the state and beyond.
“It’s amazing what they can do,” he said.
On Friday and Saturday, motorcycle officers competed on different courses and in separate divisions based on the type of motorcycle. The courses include the individual timed skills course, 4-man team course, 2-man chase, eliminator challenge, challenge box and slow ride.
The rodeo dates to 2009 when the Coppell Police Motorcycle Unit decided to host a rodeo while paying tribute to the ultimate sacrifices of two Coppell Officers, Donald Swearingin and Michael Johns.
The unit decided to honor their memories with a memorial wall. The unit was approved to host the First Annual Coppell Police Motorcycle Competition and began fundraising and contacting departments. Through their efforts, they found local citizens, business owners and officers that donated their time, money and efforts. Today, the wall stands in honor of those fallen officers.
The 2009 rodeo hosted 25 officers and hundreds of spectators.
Because of the success of the rodeo, the motor unit was encouraged to continue the tradition every year, said Coppell officer Josh Jackson, a former contestant.
In 2010, the rodeo hosted 35 officers from as far away as California. They chose to support Metroplex C.O.P.S.as the benefactor, raising and donating $12,000.
In 2011, they hosted their third annual rodeo with an attendance of 45 officers and thousands of spectators. They raised $14,000 for Metroplex C.O.P.S., a subchapter of the national C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors), which is run by surviving spouses, parents, siblings and children.
The year 2012 drew an estimated 4,000 spectators, allowing the Coppell Police Department to donate $20,000 to Metroplex C.O.P.S.
Last year, the event was watched by an estimated 4,000 spectators and raised $30,250 for the same organization.
“We’re their biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Jackson, who helped organize the event from Day One.
This year, the Coppell Police motorcycle Unit joined forces with the Grapevine Police Traffic Unit. All proceeds will be used to host the police motorcycle competition, which will include charities supporting families of injured or fallen police and fire personnel.
Among those charities are Metroplex C.O.P.S., Remember the Fallen Heroes, Grapevine Shield, North Texas Shield, Russ Martin Listener Foundation and Team Texas.
“I think what brings people in is to support law enforcement, who they see as humans who like to compete and meet people,” Jackson said. “It’s so much fun to watch and ride in. It’s something people don’t get to see outside of an event like this.”
“On top of that, the time and effort that the motorcycle officers put in to train for events like this and real life pursuits is something civilian riders like to watch and learn from,” the officer said. “We show them how to ride effectively where you are going and not where you’ve been.”