Bikers raise donations
Santa Claus and his reindeer did not come to town Saturday morning. But for many children from low-income families in the Yuba-Sutter area, hundreds of motorcyclists and their two-wheel mounts will serve just fine.
About 500 leather-clad bikers took part in the 23rd-annual Original Yuba/Sutter Toy Run, hauling a cargo of their donated Christmas presents from the Colusa Casino Resort through Yuba City and Marysville to the American Legion hall in Linda.
Organizers counted nearly $14,000 in gifts of toys and food, which the Salvation Army, churches and other community groups will distribute throughout December.
The riders represented Devil's Horsemen, The Americans, United Bikers of Northern California, even Christ Is Risen Ministries. But for one day, theirs was not only a hobby but a chance to make children in need happy.
“It's an activity we enjoy doing, and it gives us a reason to do this together for a good cause,” said Renee McCormick, a Colusa County civil servant who joined her husband, Gene, and several friends for the occasion.
As the 90-minute procession rolled into the American Legion Post 807 hall, the road outside quickly became lined with a riot of Harley-Davidsons and other bikes, their chromed frames trimmed with tinsel and, in one case, a pair of reindeer antlers hung from the handlebars.
Over turkey and spaghetti at a luncheon inside the legion hall, some of the bikers described their surprise at the Toy Run's growth from its humble beginning - a dozen or so bikes at the inaugural run, which started at the nearby riverbottoms, virtually ignored by local townspeople.
With the steady rise of motorcycle fashion has come a much greater chance for the Toy Run to do good, one longtime participant said.
“The first time I did the Toy Run (in 1995), there were about 30, 40 of us, tops,” recalled Manuel Corona, a 36-year-old Harley-Davidson dealership worker with a braided goatee. “Now the biking has grown so popular, it's grown to the numbers that we've got now.”