The weather forecast for the 20th Annual High Country Toy Run varied from rain to a rain/snow mix but that morning brought only partly cloudy skies. There was a definite bite to the air though on the ride to the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum which was the starting point for the run and typical of October in Colorado.
After parking my bike, I grabbed some coffee and wandered around visiting with folks. It was evident that everyone in attendance would have been there regardless of the weather because there was a warmth in the spirit of those there that was visible by the smiling faces and the number, size, and quantity of the toys that were strapped and tied onto bikes in every way possible.
After some announcements, and an explanation of the run procedures and route, the USMC Color Guard posted the colors, the National Anthem was played, and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited (which as far as I’m concerned isn’t done often enough). Finally, there was a brief prayer and then everyone headed for their bikes. It was time to ride.
The Colorado Springs Police Department provided an escort along the route and traffic control at the intersections so that run participants could continue to the destination at Cowboys Night Club without interruption.
At Cowboys, the toys came off the bikes and were piled into a semi-trailer. Inside offered a raffle and an auction with items being displayed by the Miller Girls so the bidders could get a closer look (at the items not the girls!!). There was also a $5 lunch with all proceeds going back to Toys For Tots and you could kick back and enjoy the awesome tunes of the Jake Loggins Band.
The generosity poured from the hearts this day and was extremely apparent in the likes of Greg Budwine, a local Cub Scout leader who showed up with his Cub Scout pack, donated a $250.00 Multi Hitch for the auction and between raffle tickets and the auction spent approximately $1000.00; Barbara Francis who donated several hand made quilts to the auction, rode with her husband on their Gold Wing loaded with toys and two OCC Chopper bicycles; and Michael Kelsey who bought $100 worth of raffle tickets, won the 50/50 raffle and donated his $675.00 winnings back to Toys For Tots, plus wrote another check for $500.00.
Even though the attendance was down from last year’s event, along with the huge pile of toys that was brought in, more toys will be purchased with the over $13,000 that was raised for the United States Marine Corps Toys For Tots program. Of note are the sponsors including: Yellow Racing, Holt Auctioneering, Advance Roofing Concepts, RMC Distributing, Drive-In Autosound, Navajo Hogan Roadhouse, Foster Electric, Southwest Scooter News, Pro Sports MVP, Frankies, Cowboys Nightclub, KILO 94.3 FM, the Eagle 103.9 FM. In addition, dozens of generous individuals and businesses donated stuff for the auction and raffle.
Thanks to all my Brothers and Sisters who made the run and opened their wallets to support this great cause and the children of the area that are touched by their generosity this Christmas.
More event pictures can be seen at http://www.abelsweb.com