Cops on skis, cops on the run; MLPD big in ‘Olympics’ at Mammoth and Las Vegas

There has been a lot of recent sports activity in the Eastern Sierra involving local law enforcement officers, but nowhere did their badges shine the brightest than at the Fire and Police Winter Olympics earlier this month on Mammoth Mountain, and on the asphalt in the desert.

The Olympics, which Mammoth hosted for the 29th straight season, put hardware into the hands of seven officers, even though Mike Braun, who organized the Games, skied for his former department, the LAPD, and took home one gold and two silvers.

The six who stuck with the MLPD, took two golds, eight silvers and one bronze, said Police Chief Dan Watson, who added that he not once ever intended to compete himself.

Instead, Eric Hugelman, Marc Moscowitz, Andy Lehr, Kari Orr, Ingrid Braun and Dick Worcester did the racing in the event, March 8 to March 13.

Meanwhile, in the desert, MLPD’s Ruben Ramos, retired Lt. John Mair, and Worcester ran the 30th Annual Baker-to-Vegas relay race March 23-24. 

Team Eastern Sierra consisted of officers from Mammoth Lakes and Bishop Police Departments, Mono and Inyo County Sheriff’s Departments, and the Bishop Office of the California Highway Patrol. 

Baker-to-Vegas is a 120-mile relay race with 20 runners per team. It starts outside Baker and goes through Shoshone, Pahrump, and ends up at the Las Vegas Hotel.

Each team of 20 runners requires a support team to drive a follow vehicle—Watson handled that part of it for Team Eastern Sierra— “catch” the runners when they finish each leg, and shuttle runners between start locations. 

Several other department employees and family members served as support team members.

Over 270 teams competed this year and Team Eastern Sierra finished 166th overall with a finishing time of just under 18 hours.

Baker-to-Vegas is one of the largest athletic competitions in the World and although it is run in the desert, the course is very challenging, with three steep mountain passes along the route.