by Kurt Feavel, PCI #529
University of Wisconsin at Madison (WI) PD
IPMBA Board of Directors
Challenging and innovative were the first words that came to mind as I walked the competition course for the 17th Annual IPMBA Conference. The weather was incredible and the competitors were ready to go. The traditional bike parade left the convention center at 3:45pm and arrived in style at the competition site just a short time later. The competition was held at Red Stick Park on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi. It was a spectacular setting, and with the USS Kidd serving as a backdrop, the riders paid tribute to the remaining veterans who served on the World War II destroyer, who were gathering in Baton Rouge for their very last reunion.
After the conference photo was taken, the competitors lined up their bikes in neat rows and gathered at the base of the levee for the walk-through and safety briefing. When the “business” side of things had been taken care of, the fun began.
Out of the gate, each of the nearly 65 riders tackled a short hill climb followed by a boxed, 90-degree turn to the right. Then it was through the infamous patch collector and into something completely new and different – an off-camber drop halfway down the levee and then back up onto the top, into another right turn and then a slalom through light posts and bollards. After another sharp right, the competitors weaved around several concrete planters. As they approached the steps, we tossed in a short S-turn cone course to slow them down. Then they descended the steps, turned left, went down even more steps leading to a right turn, and then up and over the teeter-totter. The final leg was a climb up several sets of steps leading right into the sprint to the finish line.
Comprised of three members of the Las Cruces PD and one from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, reigning team champion Team Dezert Ratz held onto their crown for the second year in a row. The second place team was Hypoxic, a team comprised of members from Williamson Medical Center, Cypress Creek EMS, and the Hague Police. In third place were the Leezards, one of several teams whose members were from a single agency – the Albuquerque PD. Other single-agency teams were Team Guilford EMS, Team Bethlehem PD, Team Joliet PD, Team Lafourche SO, and Team Boone Dogs (Boone County SO).
The Open Category was dominated by repeat winner (and sole entry) Team Volcanic, representing Volcanic Bicycles and comprised of Eric Kackley and Mike McKernan. Eric finished second overall with a time of 1:28:05, just behind winner Pat Hernandez of Albuquerque PD (1:22:56) and just ahead of third place Jason Schiffer of Bethlehem PD (1:32:72). These were also the top three finishers in the Male 30-39 category. The women of Dublin PD held their own in the 30+ category, with Sara Hall (2:11:08) taking first and Renae Rice (2:24:56) in second.
The competition drew to a close just as a passing train came to a stop next to the course, blocked by a van parked too close to the tracks. It was perfect timing as the competitors and spectators had worked up an appetite and were ready to experience a true Louisiana tradition – the crawfish boil!
I think I can say that all of the competitors had a great time and will be looking forward to next year’s competition in Indianapolis. Maybe we should just race around the track????
One item of historical significance just can’t be over looked at this year’s competition. For the first time in my association with IPMBA, the competition started on time and ended 10 minutes early. I think I’m starting to finally get a handle on this!
2007 IPMBA Competition Results
Team Dezert Ratz — 6:49.72
Jon Thompson, Dallas-Fort Worth PD
Rob Peterson, Las Cruces PD
Wallace Downs, Las Cruces PD
Mike Clifton, Las Cruces PD
Team Hypoxic — 6:57.69
Dan Turman, Williamson Medical Center
Mike Campbell, Williamson Medical Center
Tommy Hamelink, The Hague Police
Jeff Taylor, Cypress Creek EMS
Team Leezards — 7:05.00
Jason Westbrook, Albuquerque PD
Pat Hernandez, Albuquerque PD
Ron Surran, Albuquerque PD
Anthony Martinez, Albuquerque PD
Male under 30
First Place: Daniel Turman, Williamson Medical Center —1:48.92
Second Place: Mike Clifton, Las Cruces PD — 1:56.48
First Place: Pat Hernandez, Albuquerque PD — 1:22.56
Second Place: Jason Schiffer, Bethlehem PD — 1:32.92
First Place: Sjef Brouwers,Midden & West Brabant Police, Netherlands — 1:35.61
Second Place: Wallace Downs,Las Cruces PD — 1:36.80
First Place: Michael Hughes, Williamson Medical Center — 2:59.79
First Place: Sara Hall, Dublin PD — 2:11.08
Second Place: Renae Rice, Dublin PD — 2:24.56
First Place: Eric Kackley, Volcanic Bikes — 1:28.05
Second Place: Mike McKernan, Volcanic Bikes — 1:53.85
(c) 2007 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Summer 2007 issue of IPMBA News.