Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

2011 Heartland Police Motorcycle Challenge - Independence, Missouri

Written by  November 30, 2011

The Heartland Police Motorcycle Association was formed in September 2010 by motorcycle officers from the Independence Police Department, the Lee’s Summit Police Department, and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in Missouri and the Olathe Police Department and the Lenexa Police Department in Kansas. The association was formed to try to standardize motorcycle training in the Kansas City metro area and to hold a three-day training session annually. Membership has since grown to include motorcycle units from St. Joseph, Jasper County, and the Highway Patrol in Missouri as well as Leawood, Kansas. The motorcycle police unit from Kansas City, Missouri, is in the process of joining as well.

The Heartland Police Motorcycle Challenge actually originated before the association with the 2011 Challenge being the third such event. In addition to providing a great training opportunity for the participants and entertainment for the spectators, the event is also a charity fundraiser with this year’s proceeds going to the Fox 4 Love Fund for Children and the Greater Kansas City Dream Factory. Special Olympics will benefit from funds raised next year. The Challenge took place on September 15 through 17 in the parking lot at the Independence Center behind Macy’s. Only law enforcement officers qualified on motorcycles were eligible to enter.

The first day was dedicated to tactical motor officers’ training conducted by Dep. Robert Knudsen. During this training, officers practiced using their motorcycles for cover while firing around and through the bikes. Hooters provided lunch for the participants.

On Friday, the partner and slow ride competitions were held, and participants had the opportunity to practice on the open course. Here's a link to video of officers in the competition.

I had opportunity to speak with the event’s only female competitor, Officer Calie Smith of the Olathe Police Department after her first run.

CC: You just did your first round ride. How did you feel about it?

Calie: It was a little nerve-racking but it felt good, especially with everybody cheering at the end.

CC: Your buddies apparently decided to tease you by playing the song “Barbie Girl” over the p.a. while you rode. What did you think of that?

Calie: Actually, I like the song. It helped me relax. The guys are really supportive.

CC: I understand that this is your first competition. What have you been doing to prepare?
Calie: We have training days once a month with the Heartland
Association. We do activities like this to keep our skills sharp so we don’t get hurt on the road.

CC: How long have you been riding?

Calie: About a year and a half now.

CC: I assume that’s on the police bike. How long have you been riding motorcycles?

Calie (with a laugh): About a year and a half now.

CC: Wow, you just started riding and immediately got into this!

Calie: I had bought a motorcycle just before I got onto a bike here at the P.D., a little 600 c.c. crotch rocket, but it got stolen right away. I hardly had a chance to ride it.

CC: You’re on a police Harley. That’s a pretty heavy bike.

Calie: It is. I hate dropping it.

CC: Does that happen often?

Calie: In motor school it goes down quite a bit, and even after training it still goes down sometimes.

CC: I guess for training to be effective, you need to push your limits. Who has helped you? Do you have a coach or partner?

Calie: I ride with my partner, Lucas Borkowski, every day. We have a trainer in our department, Matt Misemer, who is a police motorcycle instructor. He works with me. Really, all five guys I work with were a huge help. The others are David Williams, Wes Clark, and Mike Kern.

CC: What made you decide to get into motorcycles? I assume you had been on patrol in a car before.

Calie: Yes, I’ve been with the Olathe Police Department for about five and a half years. I just always thought it was the neatest thing to watch, the teamwork with a partner and how they move. I wanted to be the first girl in our area to switch to motorcycles. Actually we had another female on the force who got on motorcycles right before I did.

CC: Congrats on your achievement and good luck in the competition.

Here is a