More than 900 motorcyclists participated in the 21st annual Tri-County Toy Run on Sunday afternoon to raise money for children in need this holiday season.
The ride began at the American Legion Post 133 in Temple, with a drive down U.S. Highway 190, culminating in a chili lunch at Ogletree Gap Park in Copperas Cove.
A line of children gathered to see organizer Bruce Raymond, who dressed as Santa Claus.
A number of local motorcycle clubs take part in the event, Raymond said.
“The goal is to give a child in need a Christmas,” he said.
“The biker community comes together to make this happen.”
With the planning beginning in March, the event is a true group effort, in which every participant is a volunteer, he added.
Joeann and Donny Ray Crume, of Killeen, have been biking for more than 30 years, and it was their first time riding in the Tri-County Toy Run. They participated in the Bell County event last month.
“Watching the bikes parade down the highway was a thrill,” Joeann Crume said. “It was an awesome ride.”
The couple enjoys helping out their community, and are active participants in The Forty and Eight veterans club.
All the local bike clubs come together to put on events, Donny Ray Crume said, which leads to higher participation.
Belton resident Keith McCormack assisted at the toy run, as he has done since 2004. He works on the committee that develops new ideas for the event each year.
“I like helping kids,” he said. “It’s a good cause. I didn’t have a lot for them growing up,” he said, gesturing toward his son, Keifer McCormack, who volunteered for the first time this year. The run allowed the family to give back to those in need at the time of year they need help the most.
In the past, Keifer McCormack helped distribute the toys. “I love it,” he said. “Seeing the looks on the families’ faces is the best part.”