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First annual Shiny Side Up Motorcycle Rally a success, organizers say

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AMMON — The steady rumble of exhaust pipes, the cheers of riding coaches and police motors filled the warm air of the Hillcrest High School parking lot Saturday.

For hours, local residents took to a training course containing eight separate cone patterns designed to teach motorcycle riders safer operating abilities. The patterns included lessons in cornering, maneuvering through intersections and avoiding sudden-stopped vehicles.

Related | ISP hosting motorcycle safety rally Saturday

The rally is something that has been done in Meridian for years, according to Idaho State Police Sgt. Andrew Nakashima, but has been needed in east Idaho for years. In seeking out ways to offer this sort of training in east Idaho, Nakashima contacted Grand Teton Harley Davidson, and its riding coach Nikki Egbert.

“We absolutely love it,” Egbert told EastIdahoNews.com. “We’ve been trying to do this for a few years now so it was nice to finally get something put together.”

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Riders, coaches and officers line their bikes along the perimeter of the training course at the Shiny Side Up Motorcycle Rally. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

Egbert coaches a basic riding course at Grand Teton Harley Davidson. And one of the things she preaches is that it is always in a rider’s best interest to be constantly practicing safe riding skills.

“Practice your emergency maneuvers, at least once a month on your own bike. That way you get more familiar with your bike and when things happen, you’re ready,” she said.

Egbert was wandering the course for hours, yelling instruction to the riders and cheering for their successes.

One rider, who had struggled in his first few tries at one of the more advanced cornering patterns, was greeted with cheers from Egbert, as well as all the several ISP and Idaho Falls Police Department motorcycle officers who had gathered to offer encouragements.

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A rider goes for a high five from a coaching officer after completing one of the patterns. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

All the patterns featured were designed to mimic those officers must pass to become road ready on a motorcycle.

“One of the things we’re hoping would interest people is, all these patterns are variations of what we did in the basic police motor course,” Nakashima told EastIdahoNews.com.

That fact made his and other officers’ excitement more pronounced as riders completed the tougher patterns.

“Not only are we sharing information with people but it’s also exciting, because we know how hard it is — we know how many times we dropped our motorcycle,” Nakashima added.

No awards or certificates were given out to riders who completed the course. But for each pattern negotiated, riders were given a raffle ticket with a chance to win one of several gifts from Grand Teton Harley, including gear and gift cards.

As riders were steadily flowing in and out, no clear participation number could be determined. But Nakashima, who went into the event hoping to make it an annual occurrence, was pleased with the turnout.

“I’m pretty excited, there’s been way more people than we expected,” he said. “And we’re getting a lot of participation. From a little bit before 11 o’clock, we’ve had people trying their hand.”

A second, similar event is already in the works. ISP plans to host an off-road training event in August. And while particulars have not yet been ironed out, what is known is that coaches and officers will be in attendance offering training in the safe operation of off-road vehicles and proper trail-riding etiquette.

“If you really practice those basic emergency maneuvers, it becomes second nature,” she said.. “It becomes muscle memory, your body is ready for it before you even think about doing it.”

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