Southwest Christmas: What a Bunch of Merry Events
By Wild Bill
Again in this wonderful city of Tucson in the land of Arizona, where the temperatures on any given day we choose to ride are just beyond belief. This year we had three Santa Clause events that were on the top of the list. Two that I have attended in the past and one that seemed real special when I heard about it. It is that special time a year when we get together and help the kids and families that need just that little boost in their life and to know we all care. A bunch of Bikers covered the streets of our city on a few wonderful days with temps up to 85 degrees. What more could you ask for? Hope you all had a Very Merry Christmas and you had close to the fun we all did.
It all started on November 25th. Tucson’s Renegade Classics located at 4745 East Speedway held their 2nd Annual Santa Claus Toy Run. Registration started at the Store at 8:00am and we were all greeted by Alan and his crew with coffee, pastries, and some wonderful fresh doughnuts. DJ Papa Bear provided us with music and the rides started rolling in. Bikes from all over the Southwest attended this year and I was told it was just as many as last year plus the temps were heading to the 85 degree mark.
This event is a self ride event so you got to leave anytime you wanted but you could not pass up the special deals the store provided all getting ready for the winter if it ever shows its head. My daughter Christina attended this with me and it was one event she didn’t have to twist around to get pictures she just got to go for the ride (A welcome time for her).
We all ended up at the Desert Diamond Casino for an outstanding lunch all fixings included. Some of the Vendors that were there was the Famous Patch Lady with her husband the Sticher they can get you any patch you need and you can see their Ad in this issue of Quick Throttle Magazine. Law Tigers provided helpful items it was just a super day (And we did not gamble) So the first event to start our Christmas Season went without a hitch and all proceeds went to benefit The underprivileged Children through the Tucson area. Again thanks Alan and crew for the outstanding event see you next year.
While attending Renegade Classics Toy Run I overheard about a Toy Run that was happing on December 8 and it sounded so different than any I have attended before. It was to start off at Big John’s Garage in Tucson and it was called Red Sleigh Toy Run. This was their 5th annual and I was shocked that this was the first time I had heard of this event. I do get around our city but I guess this was a low keyed event and my daughter and I had to make plans to attend.
We worked the schedule out and left the house with a few coats on just because it was early and just a dab crisp. Arriving at Big John’s early we were greeted with a huge sleigh attached to a ride and it was full of red bags filled with toys. We met up with Steve who was on light duty due to his Bike landing on his foot and he told me that as we all know 2008 was a tough year for many. So a group of motorcycle friends decided to help some families in need. They chose a specific section of Tucson and contacted schools to identify families in need regardless of the reason. They work with parents and the schools to get a wish list for the children in each family and then shop for a specific gift for them. Please if you want or can put a check in the block on the Karma board and check out http://redsleightoyrun.wix.com.
We left Big John’s at 8’00 sharp on our journey with a free provided escort from the Marshals of Patagonia. They did a super job holding traffic for us and a thankful pat on the back goes out to them. Steve led us on our journey to a list of houses a huge group of riders following a big red sleigh through our city. Christina was taking pictures of all of the smiles coming from the riders on our mission.
Now because of much needed privacy you will not see the pictures of the children because I said I would not post them but I did get some pictures of riders as we pulled onto the block and stopped in front of a house. A group of bikes, all of the noise and the kid’s with such a surprise look on their face as they came out to see what was up. Well I know I watered up as did most of us. Most of the children opened their packages in front of us and to receive what they had requested well it was beyond special. We hit up quite a group of houses and had to split up to get them all throughout the day each one a special treat.
This was a special toy run and a lot of work went into it just to help out a few and wanting to help out so many more. I have to thank Steve and a group of outstanding riders for all that they did to make us all feel so warm and you can mark my word If and when they schedule the 6th Red Sleigh Toy Run in 2013 I will be ready to Ride.
The following day was the big one for Tucson, AZ the Sun Riders of Arizona presented their 31st Annual Toy Parade. This event was held December 9th and is one I have attended every year come rain or shine. We were blessed this year not just because we had perfect weather but I also was blessed to have my better half Carmen Special along for the ride. This year started out rough for the Sun Riders and as we know, to put on an event is a lot of work.
The Sun Riders put this event on to support the Aviva Children’s Services. They work all year to raise money for this event and have for 31 years. But we weren’t sure it was going to happen this year. Rumors were going around like wild fire.
We arrived at Freedom Park early to a group lining up for this big event So many rides decked out for the holiday, So many riders ready to roll. At Noon we headed out to a full escorted ride by Tucson’s finest TPD (Tucson Police Department) Thanks for a job well done with no interruptions. Parents and children lining the route cheering us on we arrived at Morgan McDermott American Legion Post 7 to refreshments, food, raffles, and a lot of vendors again I got to see my friends the patch lady & Sticher working to support the cause. A great time was had by all but I do want to thank so many people and riders for their support, see you next year and Sun Riders, you guys are the best thanks so much.
This part is from David V.P Am Legion Riders Post 59 and Construction Manager for Tucson Electric Power:
Toy Drive on Wheels Held in Tucson to Benefit More Than 3,000 Children
Led by Santa Claus, more than 650 motorcyclists drove through the streets of Tucson on Dec. 9 to collect toys and raise funds for abused and neglected children.
Proceeds from the 31st Annual Toy Parade, sponsored by Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and IBEW Local 1116, will benefit Aviva Children’s Services, a Tucson-based non-profit agency that provides services to children in the care of Child Protective Services (CPS). Proceeds from the event, which raised approximately $15,000, will be used to purchase toys and gifts for more than 3,000 youth, from newborns to 18-year-olds.
Participants in this year’s parade dressed up as Santa & Mrs. Claus, the Grinch and elves, while many others decorated their bikes. The procession started at noon at Freedom Park and ended at Morgan McDermott American Legion Post 7, where riders enjoyed a hearty after party.
Special thanks are due to the American Legion Riders Posts 59 & 7 and the Sun Riders for hosting, staffing and providing an awesome toy parade.
And this from our own Famous Jake, below.
Sun Riders 2012
Hot Breaking News Flash Too Later to Matter: According to a highly placed source to whom I gained access by calling Sun Riders Secretary Robin and asking her, this is the Toy Parade that almost wasn’t. Yes, the ugly rumors were almost true. Due to financial pressure the 31st annual iteration of The Parade almost turned into a party in place. It cost plenty to put all those cops in the intersections so we can smile and wave and run the red lights and this year it just seemed like too much nut to crack despite the tireless efforts of the club and ongoing support of the city and local business. Like most bad news and biker secrets it was all over town before breakfast. And people were bummin’ hard. But the problem with reality is…. it’s just too damn real. Especially when the money runs out.
Now here’s where it gets interesting. Some American Legion Riders from Post 7 who work together at TEP, the power company that is, decided that if the second Sunday in December was open they’d try to throw together a parade because someone ought to, by God. And their employer was willing to step up and assist with the cost. Naturally, the Sun Riders got wind of this unexpected twist. With about one hundred riders working for TEP it didn’t take long. We’ll wait a minute, if the Sun Riders have everything to hold a parade but a sponsor and y’all got one of those, we should talk. So the deal was done by the time they flicked the lights for closing time at the Legion Hall on Franklin in the old part of downtown that the bulldozers missed. The Sun Riders, American Legion, TEP, COT, Aviva Children’s Services, and legions of American bikers made it happen. The club is committed to maintaining this beloved local tradition for years to come because they understand the need that drives it will always remain: there are kids in trouble, it’s the holidays, and the bikers want to step up. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get together and ride.