Toy story: Motorcyclists to hit the streets for Salvation Army charity
By Paige Dickerson
Peninsula Daily News
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Even 12 years ago when he was injured in a collision, he did the entire run in a wheelchair.
More than 100 bikers are expected to bring toys and generate donations for the Salvation Army toy drive Saturday during the 18th annual Biker Toy Run, this year from Blyn to Port Angeles.
They'll strap the toys on pack them in bags or have a passenger carry them to their destination.
Welker, 49, has been riding motorcycles since the mid-1970s, when his grandfather bought him his first.
"I like the being in the wind, the freedom of riding," he said.
He joined the toy run in its inception and hasn't stopped since.
"It's a great feeling, and it isn't a long run," he said.
About 12 years ago, he was in a wreck with a car which shattered a bone in one leg.
The wreck, at the corner of Front and Race streets, involved a car which struck him in the side.
"After being hit at 30 or 40 miles an hour, it tends to leave a some damage," he said.
But that wasn't about to stop him from participating in the toy run.
"It was a lot better than sitting at home being miserable," he said.
The ride helps build camaraderie among bikers and draws in new friends each year, Welker said.
"I probably know half of them out there," he said.
"We do try and get a lot of people from out of town.
"This year I'm trying to get some friends from North Seattle, but they are trying to be fair-weather riders."
Last year, the run drew 106 bikers and raised almost $10,000 for the Port Angeles Salvation Army, which provides toys for children throughout Clallam County at Christmas, said Laura Anderson, vice president of the Clallam County Mothers Club, an all-woman biker group which organizes the run.
Because of the recession, the Salvation Army is expecting more requests, Anderson said.
In 2008, the Salvation Army served 1,200 families in Clallam County at Christmas, Anderson said.
The run will begin at 2 p.m. at 7 Cedars Casino on U.S. Highway 101 in Blyn. Bikers will register there before beginning the ride to Port Angeles.
The bikers are asked to bring new and unwrapped toys to donate.
Donations also will be taken at the bikers' destination -- Steele's Sport Bar & Grill at 1605 E. Front St., Port Angeles.
The Salvation Army will have a truck at Steele's to take donations, beginning about 3 p.m.
"This is all for the kids -- that's what we've been doing since the beginning of the ride," Welker said.
"This is an incredible cause."
At Steele's will be food, live music and door prizes for $7 per person or $10 per couple.
Proceeds will go to the Salvation Army.
For more information, phone 360-461-7509 or 360-460-5259.
Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at paige.dickerson@peninsuladaily news.com.
Last modified: October 23. 2009 1:12AM