Over 200 bikers turn out for Christmas Toy Run

Published 7:15 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Saturday, Dec. 13, started out cool and crisp, with overcast skies – a perfect day to ride. By 9:00 a.m., bikers had started to gather at the Peanut Shed on Highway 331.

The Toy Run was organized seventeen years ago, and since then, bikers from in and around Crenshaw County have turned in toys to the Crenshaw County DHR for needy children as part of “Operation Santa Claus.”

“The Crenshaw County Riders and the bikers who come in are one of our biggest contributors of toys each year,” Lesa Syler, Crenshaw County DHR director, said.

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A few minutes before 11 o’clock, the signal was given and engines were revved up. The road captains moved out to keep both lanes of traffic still while the bikes lined up and moved onto the road. Spyder directed each group out, starting with the US Military Vets Motorcycle Club, who were the sponsors of the Toy Run.

Other groups represented in the Toy Run were the Montgomery Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club, the Wiregrass chapter of Forgiven Child of God Motorcycle Ministries and the Riders for Jesus Motorcycle Ministry. There were also many independent riders as well. Riders from as far away as Huntsville came down, and there were also riders up from Florida. Troy, Dothan, Andalusia, Greenville and Ft. Deposit were also represented.

The Crenshaw County Riders came out last and escorted the truck carrying some of the toys that were donated. More bikes joined in as we rode through town, and the final count was well over 200.

After all the bikes made their way through town and back around to the old Armory, everyone headed back to the Peanut Shed for lunch and the festivities. The Crenshaw County Riders had spent almost all Friday, Friday night and early Saturday morning cooking and getting everything ready for the third annual Biker Appreciation Day. By the time everyone had made it back and parked, a lunch line had formed.

Barbecued chicken quarters, Boston butts, hot dogs, potato salad, slaw, green beans, dirty rice and cakes were served on tables inside, and soft drinks were available at the back door. As each person entered the building, they signed in and if they gave a donation, they received a ticket to be used in the raffles later on. About 185 bikers came through the line, not counting the band members and the Crenshaw County Riders.

A large sign behind the food tables thanked the sponsors who helped make the day possible. Those sponsors included Super Foods/Food Depot of Luverne, Flowers by Michelle, South Alabama Electric, Durric Construction, Pepsi of Luverne, Ranch House, Chicken Shack, Regions Bank, Southern Turf and Equipment, First Citizen’s Bank, Annie’s, Flowers Bread Co., Hillburn Farms, Hook’s BBQ, Hudson’s Heavy Duty Equipment, and Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Brundidge; these companies helped provide the food or donated cash to be used to purchase Christmas gifts for needy children – all cash donations were used for that purpose. Richard and Phyllis Mitchell and Julia Flowers also came out to help cook and serve food, although they’re not members of CCR.

After lunch, Kaoss, a band from Greenville entertained the crowd. We also had Stihl River; local musicians Alex Alexander, Chad Gorey, Brian Manies, Justin “Speedy” Sanders, and Chad Sanders performed classic rock and original tunes. Also performing in the afternoon was Jeff Sasser of Brantley. During breaks, door prizes were given away; there was a wide variety of prizes, including riding gloves, helmets, shirts, and thermos bottles.

At the end of the day, after all donations were counted, fifteen children’s Christmas wishes were granted, and four extra bicycles were also purchased.

We look forward to next year’s fourth annual Biker Appreciation Day.