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Participants of 4-day bike race across Idaho benefitting law enforcement arrive in Idaho Falls

Idaho Falls

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IDAHO FALLS – Eighteen bicycle riders wrapped up day three of a four day ride across Idaho as they arrived in Idaho Falls Saturday afternoon.

The group is part of the first-ever Idaho border to border race sponsored by Shield616, a nonprofit that provides protective equipment for law enforcement. Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office partnered with the organization, which is providing 30 bullet proof vests for deputies.

Race participants arrived at the soccer complex on West Broadway around 3:30 p.m. Among them were members of the community, three deputies and Bonneville County Sheriff Samuel Hulse, who told about 30 minutes after getting into town he was tired and sore.

“My hands are sore, but we’re doing ok. We’ve got one more day,” Hulse says. “We did 108 miles today to get into town.”

The group has ridden about 100 miles a day since the race began on Thursday. It started at the Idaho-Oregon border and will conclude sometime Sunday in Alta, Wyoming on the Idaho-Wyoming border.

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Hulse says he and his fellow deputies have felt a sense of camaraderie and unity with the other riders as they’ve endured turbulent weather over the last several days.

“We’ve had everything from 106-degree temperatures to 58-degrees in a really interesting and drenching thunderstorm yesterday outside of Carey,” says Hulse. “Today, coming across the desert by Arco, we’re functioning as one unit. It’s neat … seeing that synergy come together. It’s been my honor to ride with them.”

People are stronger as a team, Hulse says, and being able to build connections between law enforcement and members of the community is mutually beneficial.

“We cannot accomplish our mission without the citizens. When we forget that, neither of us are accomplishing what we need to do. The biggest thing about the bike ride is it brings that team understanding back into focus,” he says.

This event has also helped BCSO build a relationship with Shield616. Hulse says the Colorado Springs-based nonprofit initially reached out to the Sheriff’s Office because of several factors. One connection is Bonneville County Deputy Trevor Davis, who used to work for the Colorado Springs Police Department. Event Coordinator Cary Katalin also served a church mission in Idaho Falls years ago, where he met his wife.

Hulse says there will be an ongoing relationship with Shield616 as a result of this bike race and he says the vests the organization is providing them will allow them to better serve the community.

“The cool thing about the vests is they’re rated to stop rifle rounds. Most of our vests are soft armor to stop pistol rounds. These are rifle-rated and it’s a unique vest design that makes it wearable for patrol cops all day,” Hulse explains.

Hulse says each vest costs $2,500 and the Sheriff’s Office is getting $75,000 worth.

The protective gear will be presented to the sheriff’s office during a ceremony at Watersprings Church Saturday night at 7 p.m. Hulse will be making a few remarks and Pastors Tim Rupp and Ty Orr will also be involved. A support team or prayer partner will stand with the deputy when he or she receives the vest and will support, encourage and pray for them. The community is invited to attend.

The Idaho Border to Border Bike Race is expected to become an annual event and Hulse is looking forward to the ways it will benefit the community.

“We have a great community in eastern Idaho and we feel their support. It’s a great place to live, a great place to work, a great place to play. We’re so fortunate to live where we do and we want to hang on to that, continue to cooperate with one another and make things come together. That’s what this is all about,” he says.