FORT WORTH – The annual Texas Toy Run was about to start as thousands of motorcycles rumbled into Gateway Park, anticipating a rally on a perfect Sunday morning.
A beautiful combination of black boots, leather and jackets with Santa hats and stuffed animals affixed to handlebars made the whole place look amazingly positive and festive.
Tom Fortner, president of the Arlington Christian Motorcyclists Association said:
“Bikers get bad press for things like what happened down in Waco. But this is what we’re good at.”
Fortner was an organizer for Sunday’s Texas Toy Run Motorcycle Parade benefiting Tarrant County Mental Health Mental Retardation and Metrocare Services in Dallas. He estimated up to 10,000 motorcyclists would ride from Fort Worth to Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, meeting up with about 10,000 more coming from Dallas.
Riders were asked to bring either an unwrapped toy or a cash donation.
“Sometimes they bring both,”
Fortner said as he directed riders into a registration line just before 11 a.m.
The motorcycles set out for Grand Prairie about 11:45 a.m., filing out of two large lots at Gateway Park near Beach Street and then onto Interstate 30. Fortner said it would take about three hours to get everyone on the road.
After the donations are collected, the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club will distribute the toys to area children this week, Fortner said. Last year, the toy run produced $20,000 in donations.
“We’re thankful that we have an opportunity to minister to families that we wouldn’t meet any other way. I know there’s enough that no kid gets surprised on Christmas. Everybody gets something.”