Harker Heights residents may have heard a low roar around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, but there was nothing to worry about — it was just 679 motorcycles tearing down the highway toward Lampasas to donate toys to needy children during the 26th annual Tri-County Toy Run.

“This is my fourth year actually participating in the run; prior to that I was just a donor like anyone else,” Dan Scott said. Scott is the service officer for American Legion Post 133 in Temple, which is where the ride originated Sunday. “Last year (the American Legion) organized and got over 100 bikes to donate, and now we have committed to donating 100 bikes every year.”

The nearly 700 motorcycles traveled down U.S. Highway 190/Interstate 14 to Lampasas with boxes filled with toys for needy children. Drawing in bikers from all across Central Texas, the annual event raises money and toys for needy children.

“I have been participating in the Toy Run for the past seven or eight years,” Copperas Cove resident and bike rider Sherry Hering said. “It is always so much fun, it is like being in a parade.”

If the Toy Run is like a parade, Hering’s “float” was decorated with a large, red bow and a Santa Claus hat and beard. Hering said she was particularly happy to participate in the Toy Run this year because she was unable to drive her motorcycle last year. She also said she loves to donate toys for the children.

“This year I donated a Supergirl doll for some little girl to have,” Hering said.

According to event organizers, over $12,000 was raised by the ride. Also, 122 bicycles, three skateboards, five scooters, 73 boxes of toys and over 100 loose items were donated.

“The ride turned out good, and it was beautiful weather this year,” event organizer and “biker Santa” Bruce Raymond said. “When you factor in that close to half of the bikes had people riding double, we probably had between 800 and 900 people out here today.”

Raymond spoke very highly of the response from local and state law enforcement, as well.

“We had no problems on the road today, the cities provided escorts and the on-ramps to the highway were blocked off,” he said.

Other event staff were pleased with the turnout, too, saying it was good to see the motorcycle community so involved.

“I have been participating in the Toy Run for the past 20 years,” Dale Schwartz said. “I first heard about this event through friends in the motorcycle community, and I just think the community is amazing to come out and do something like this.”

The Tri-County Toy Run leaves from American Legion Post 133 in Temple and drives to Lampasas on the first Sunday in December every year.

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