MEDFORD, Ore. – Monday through Friday, Lt. Mike Budreau is focused on the law. His most important piece of equipment is his firearm. On Saturday and Sunday, it’s his ski.
“For years and years, life has basically been police work and water skiing and very little else,” Lt. Budreau says.
Budreau started working for the Medford Police Department 19 years ago. His foray into water skiing came shortly thereafter.
“I became a cop and my first purchase was a ski boat,” Lt. Budreau says. “It probably wasn’t the smartest decision. I probably should have bought a house or maybe something else, but here I have a ski boat sitting in the driveway of my apartment.”
He did eventually get a house as well as marry his wife, Kim, who’s also a police officer and a skier.
“Once the police work is done, we are on the water,” Lt. Budreau says. “We are skiing, and that’s our passion at that point.”
“I think about nothing but the sport itself when I’m doing it,” Sgt. Kim Budreau says. “I have no worries in the world. I’m not thinking about work. I’m not thinking about troubles in life. You’re free out there on the water.”
It also frees the Budreaus from the stresses of being a police officer.
“I think police officers need to have something they can do to get their mind off of the stresses of police work and skiing does that,” Lt. Budreau says. “It not only takes my mind off of it, but I’ve got to be so serious about it if I want to be a competitive water skier. I’ve got to put everything into it.”
That is why the Budreaus are able to compete at the highest level. Lt. Budreau taught Sgt. Budreau to ski in the late 1990′s. They each qualified for a regional tournament in 2001.
“That year and a couple years past, we started qualifying for national levels, like 2002, 2003,” Sgt. Budreau says. “When you start doing that, you find yourself getting competitive with all the girls in your age category.”
In many ways the lake represents an escape from enforcing the law. Still, Lt. Budreau believes the police work actually helps the skiing and vice versa.
“Both things require complete and 100% focus,” Lt. Budreau says, “and I think that’s what’s nice about it.”
There’s also a physical benefit.
“You’re basically pulling your body weight around out there on the water,” Lt. Budreau says, “so you’re going to want to make sure you’re strong enough yet light enough at the same time to perform the tasks required out there on the water.”
The Budreaus get out to their private lake every weekend, and they also try to make it out a couple more times during the week.
“It’s kind of nice to be able to switch that police work off and completely absorb ourselves into something else,” Lt. Budreau says.
“We don’t really think about work when we’re out here,” Sgt. Budreau says. “We have a whole group of friends out here that are just out here to water ski.”
But then Monday rolls around, and the focus shifts back to the law.