Wed, April 08

Bikers to play Santa at Toy Run

Verde Valley bikers are among the most generous when it comes to providing toys for needy families at Christmas. Last year, they generated $8,000 for the annual Toy Run.

The 17th Annual Verde Valley Toy Run this Sunday invites everyone to help make the holiday one to remember. "The people that attend," explains coordinator Rose Ortiz, "are great people who like helping children."

Last year more than $8,000 was generated from the run.

And thanks to participants and hours of shopping at the local Wal-Mart, hundreds of children in the Valley had something in their Christmas stocking or wrapped under the tree.

"They are the largest donors of toys every season," explains Cathy Peterson, director of Catholic Social Services. "It really allows some children that may go without to have presents."

Last year volunteers even purchased sleeping bags, coats and other essentials because.

"Some of these kids need not just a toy but they also need to be warm and clean," says Ortiz.

And this season Peterson has seen more families doing without.

"The whole world crisis has impacted so many families," she explains. "Many have been laid off and giving them some of the basics is particularly important now."

Last year more than 500 supporters came out for the Toy Run and Ortiz wants the community to remember you don't have to ride to participate.

"We wold love to see everyone come and support us and the kids of the Verde Valley get a T-shirt, party and get a chance at door prizes," she says. Registration for those who want to ride is scheduled from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Fry's Parking lot in Cottonwood.

It's a road trip that promises to provide a great time to participants says Mark Shoutlz, owner of Sedona Motorcycles.

"It's incredible to be in the middle of the pack thundering down the road. As far as you can see there are bikers, it's awesome it looks like a rock concert."

"It's a site to see," agrees Ortiz. "We would love to see the community out waving at us."

From Fry's the charity riders take Arizona 89A through West Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek. They will christen the new Beaver Flats cut away to Cornville and return to the Verde Valley Fairgrounds for live music, dinner and a chance to win Arizona Diamondbacks memorabilia: a team jersey and a bat autographed by left fielder Luis Gonzalez.

There are also gift certificates, biker gear, T-shirts and other merchandise during the afternoon auction. Danny Rhodes will provide live music and a barbecue beef dinner is scheduled as a crowd filler.

A bike show, 50/50 drawing and poker run rounds out the event scheduled to conclude at 5 p.m. To participate a $15 minimum sponsorship is required along with a new unwrapped toy. Sponsors receive in return a T-shirt, bike show entry and chance to win door prizes.

For more information, call 634-5640.

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