Bikers Show Softer Side During Annual Toy Run

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

The engines were revving and the Harleys were shining as hundreds of bikers came out to the 28th annual Toy Run Saturday afternoon.

Red hats, sacks of toys, and in some cases long beards -- but instead of reindeer and a sleigh, these Santas prefer to deliver toys on shinier equipment. But just like Santa, for hundreds of bikers it's all about bringing a smile to an underprivileged child.

"I love it," said biker Kim Salazar. "I love being able to help the community. It's a wonderful thing."

The Toy Run, which benefits the Salvation Army, delivers toys to local families across the Grand Valley. With more than 300 bikers participating in this year's run, a lot of kids will have a Merry Christmas.

"This always helps out and brings a lot of really good folks together," said biker Steve Stewart.

While the parade through the city is all about making kids happy, bikers say they can't help but have a good time themselves.

"It's such a thrill to be in a procession of three hundred plus bikes going down the road," said biker Neil Webster. "People come out to wave at us and support us from the roadside."

"The power of the bikes, everything like that is wonderful," said Salazar. "It's just a great feeling."

But most of all, bikers say they're glad to show the community that they do have a softer side.

"We're doing something good for the community," said Webster. "It lets the community know that bikers have big hearts and we're not just a bunch of ruffians."

There is one group, however, who says it never doubted the bikers' character.

"It's just so exciting," said Major Alfred Parker of the Salvation Army. "It means thousands of children will have Christmas because of these wonderful, kind-hearted folks at the Harley Owners Group."

Even though their busy day is over, these Santas on wheels say they can hardly wait to do it all over again next year.


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