The Orange County Traffic Officers Association’s 47th annual Police Rodeo drew hundreds of motor officers to an expansive parking lot at Huntington State Beach where they showcased their exemplary skills in a variety of competitions.
The 47th annual event fell on Sept. 11, the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Event organizers honored the 2,977 lives that were lost on that day, including the 343 firefighters and the 39 law enforcement officers that died during rescue efforts.
Special tribute also was paid to the 13 California peace officers who lost their lives over the past year since the 2018 motor rodeo.
Five of the 13 were motor officers, including four who participated in the 2018 motor rodeo, and organizers named five circuit patterns on the course after each one of the five.
A sixth circuit pattern was named after Laguna Beach Police Officer Jon Coutchie, who enlisted in the military and became an Army Ranger in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Coutchie was tragically killed while on duty with Laguna Beach Police Department on Sept. 21, 2013.
The event’s most heartwarming tribute belonged to Christian Reyes, the young nephew of Costa Mesa Motor Officer Oscar Reyes, who died on Sept. 12, 2018, the day of the 2018 motor rodeo.
Christian, a child with special needs and physical limitations, was presented with his own customized vehicle, constructed in the exact likeness of his uncle’s BMW R1200RT-P police motorcycle.
The motorcycle was designed and constructed by the Magic Wheelchair Foundation.
Seven officers were also given lifetime achievement awards for their years of service traffic officers, including three from Anaheim PD:
Brian Carrion: 29 years in law enforcement with 25 years as a traffic officer.
Oscar Ayon: 33.5 years in law enforcement with 19 years as a traffic officer.
Curtis Bryant: 26 years in law enforcement with 22 years as a traffic officer.
The competition didn’t disappoint the hundreds who turned out to watch the competition.
In the circuit competition, riders maneuvered their bikes through different cone configurations, without putting their foot down, touching a cone, dropping the bike, or riding out of the pattern.
The top gun competition featured a maze where officers led or followed. The goal of the leader is to throw off the follower, and the goal of the follower is to mimic what the leader is doing.
Funds raised are used to help the OCTOA accomplish its mission of helping officers who are injured or killed in the line of duty and their families and be a resource for traffic related training for law enforcement.
The OCTOA Board of Directors includes, President, Lauré Bao of Santa Ana PD; Vice President: Chris Ostrowski of Irvine PD; Secretary: Kathy Anderson, retired from Garden Grove PD and Treasurer Damian Moreno of Santa Ana PD,
Board Members are Steve Chauncey, formerly of Seal Beach PD and currently with the FBI; Sgt. Brad Blakely, retired from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; Jim Tigner of La Habra PD; Shawn Murray of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; Ryan Bustillos of Garden Grove PD; John Hedges-Tustin PD, and Garrett Gales and Garret Veach, both of Irvine PD.
Competition Circuit Results
Class: BMW R1200RT-P
|1st||Andy Bernath||Chino PD||60||45.84 secs|
|2nd||Matthew Bloch||Chino PD||60||41.58 secs|
|3rd||Justin Bunch||Chino PD||60||36.31 secs|
Class: Honda ST1300
|1st||Steve Bailor||Fullerton PD||60|
|2nd||Craig Blumenthal||Pasadena PD||58|
|3rd||Zachary Sprague||Pasadena PD||45|
|1st||Miguel Guerrero||CHP – Riverside||38|
|2nd||Dillon Eckerfield||CHP – South L.A.||36|
|3rd||Joseph Bucaro||OCSD – Laguna Niguel||32|
|1st||Justin Bunch, Matthew Bloch, Andy Bernath||Chino PD||180|
|2nd||Gerry Verpooten, Nathan Fay, Tony Karg||Anaheim PD||158|
|3rd||Vincent Jackson, Roman Fernandez, Chacon||Glendale PD||144|
Top Gun Competition Results
|1st||Tony Karg||Anaheim PD|
|3rd||Justin Bunch||Chino PD|