Herald/TJ MAXWELL - ABOVE: Bikers travel down U.S. Highway 190 near Fort Hood Street on their way to Ogletree Gap Park in Copperas Cove as part of the 19th Annual Tri-County Toy Run on Sunday.

By Rose L. Thayer

Killeen Daily Herald

Despite the cold, rainy weather, hundreds of motorcyclists turned out for the Tri-County Toy Run Sunday.

"I'm definitely riding in the weather, without a doubt," said Tal Cookie Clayter, of Killeen, while he mingled with other bikers at the American Legion Post 133 in Temple before the fundraising event. "To ride in this weather shows the community we are serious about coming together this time of the year to help some parents out."

This was the 19th year for the toy run, which in years with better weather, has seen up to 850 motorcyles making the trip from Temple to Ogletree Gap Park in Copperas Cove to benefit the children of Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties.

This year 19 charities, serving about 8,000 children, will benefit from the toy run, said Jerry Caballero, committee chair for the event.

"We are just trying to do our best for the three counties," said Caballero. "We work all year to help the kids. That's our goal."

All bikers who participate are asked to donate a toy or a minimum of $5. Last year's ride brought in a combined toy and cash value of more than $27,000.

"This is to support the community and the children in the community," said Clayter, who has participated in the ride for 12 years. "We are just old kids and we've got more expensive toys."

The ride is also a way for the many motorcycle clubs and organizations in the area to come together for a good cause, said Caballero.

"It's neutral territory for all clubs," he said. "It's all for the kids."

Two of Killeen's female motorcycle clubs were encouraging each other to get out in the rainy weather and have a good time.

"It's a good cause for the kids," said Felicia Prince, of Killeen. "It's the season for making it happen for them."

Contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

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