Event collects over 500 toys for kids
Motorcyclists gathered for the 42nd annual Toy Run, hosted by Cheyenne High Country Harley-Davidson last weekend to collect new, unwrapped toys for the Salvation Army’s Christmas assistance program so that underprivileged children will have presents to open on Christmas Day.
The riders gathered at The High Country Harley-Davidson for comradery and coffee, provided by the Salvation Army canteen truck. The cost to the toy run participants is one new, unwrapped toy. The run itself is very much like a parade with the Cheyenne Police Department escorting the line of bikes on a loop through town. At the front of the line is the Salvation Army van, followed by Santa Claus on his Harley trike with the rest of the bikes following behind him. The parade of bikes ends back at the dealership where the riders fill up the van with all the toys and then hang out for a BBQ and socializing.
The run is always held in October and has been hosted by the dealership for the last 41 years. Kiley Avery and Christy McAffee with High Country Harley-Davidson in Cheyenne coordinate the event. Avery said “We had 139 motorcycles participate in the event this year, up from 117 last year and approximately 500 toys were donated. It was not just riders that donated toys, a couple of gentlemen came in with donations. One of them said he could not participate but wanted to donate and he brought in a huge box of toys to donate.”
McAffee said the local Harley Davidson dealership has sponsored the event since the second run. She said the dealership came to become involved after the ABATE motorcycle group asked if they would sponsor the second annual run. They thought is was a great idea and Harley-Davidson has done it ever since, even through all the ownership changes. “The event always just went with the building,” she said.
This has been the 42nd year for Ron Duck to participate in the run. He has never missed one year. Duck says “I have been in different parts of it, front, back, and everything else. It gives you a little adrenaline rush being with that many bikes.” Duck would like for the community to know “any person, bike and even car is welcome to participate, you do not need to be a member of a club or even have a bike to join in on the fun.”
CSM Jim Webber, has been with the Cheyenne Salvation Army for as long as he can remember. He has been the Core Sargent Major for the last 55 years. Webber said “families can start signing up for the Christmas assistance this week by coming into the Cheyenne office, then at Christmas time we set up the toys and let the parents come in and do the actual shopping from the toys that are donated so that the toys are matched to the kids age and taste. Webber also said, “we supply the wrapping paper and give the families a food box according to the size of their family.”
High Country Harley-Davidson, at 3320 E. Lincolnway, will have the collection box for new toys at their location through the holiday season. Sign up for Christmas assistance with the Salvation Army runs from October 21 to November 1 at 601 E. 20th Street.