Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

17th Annual Toys for Tots Ride - Shawnee, Kansas

Written by  November 30, 2005

On Sunday, November 6, over 800 riders gathered at Central Harley-Davidson in Shawnee, Kansas, to participate in the 17th Annual Toys for Tots ride. The noon football game at Arrowhead Stadium between the Chiefs and their arch rivals, the Oakland Raiders, may have kept the attendance from being even greater. Those who participated in the event received a commemorative pin and were treated to some great-tasting chili at the end of the ride. The ride fee was $10 per person in addition to a new toy donated to Toys for Tots.

Central’s parking lot was filled with bikes loaded down with all kinds of toys, but the bike that really stood out from the crowd was Jim and Penny’s Road King, on this day referred to as the “Bear Bike.” This couple is well-known for their tireless support of Kansas City’s annual Bikers for Babies® ride. Last year, they decided to load their bike with two dozen “I Am Loved®” teddy bears. This year they tripled that number. Bears rode in the saddle bags and were attached to the bike in every conceivable location. Penny carried a bag holding still more bears. Penny said she told Jim that next year she needs her own bike or they need a trailer so that they can deliver even more bears. “Children love to receive toys at Christmas, but often outgrow them. We hope those who receive the 'I Am Loved®’ bears will hold on to them for many years to come,” Penny said. The bears were donated by Jim’s employers at Helzberg Diamonds where he has worked for nearly 38 years, starting 3 months after the “I Am Loved®” message was conceived by Barnett Helzberg. What a wonderful donation!

Roger Berquist, Director of the Central Midwest Harley Owners Group, handled the pre-ride announcements that included special recognition for Rusty James. Rusty has organized the ride’s police escort for many years and will hand off that task to someone else for the 2006 event. He will soon be retiring from the Lenexa Police Department.

At noon, everyone mounted up and the ride began. During the 15-mile trip from Central to the Wyandotte County Fairgrounds the long procession of bikes riding two-by-two was followed by some very classy antique cars, street rods, and sports cars from several local clubs. Marines were waiting at the end of the ride to collect the donated toys and deliver them to Toys for Tots for distribution. The huge nuber of toys donated was impressive. Many of the bikes and cars were loaded with toys sent by friends who did not attend. It was a strong effort for a very worthy cause!

Central Harley-Davidson
Central Midwest Chapter-Harley Owners Group
ABATE District 5
Visions Motorcycle Club
Kobi’s Bar and Grill
Bob & Jeanette Green
Heart of America Chevy Club
Covrvette Club of Kansas City
Kansas City Corvette Association
Kansas City Porsche Club
Kansas City Miata Club
Police Departments of:
Kansas City, Kansas
Prairie Village
Bonner Springs
Johnson County Sheriff
Kansas Highway Patrol

Story and photos by Stripe
The photo of Marilyn, the Marines, and the Bear Bike was submitted by Penny Sharp. Thanks, Penny.