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Generous bikers donate gifts during this year’s Toy Run

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Brian Shepard of Talent greets Kim Stewart of Medford and her young companion at the start of Saturday's toy run at the Touvelle Lodge. Shepard has been playing Santa for almost 40 years in the annual motorcycle ride. Photo by Denise Baratta
At least 300 motorcycles were spotted rolling along Table Rock Road for holiday gift-giving event

Hundreds of Santa’s helpers chose two-wheeled transportation on Saturday to brighten the holidays for local children by riding in the 41st Annual Southern Oregon Toy Run.

This motorcycle jaunt of about seven miles along Table Rock Road from the Touvelle Lodge in Central Point to Eagles Lodge in Medford is a group ride to deliver holiday toys and gifts that will be distributed to local youths whose families are financially disadvantaged.

A storage truck was set up outside Touvelle to hold items donated by people who didn’t go on the ride this year or who just wanted to turn in their donations and have a ride that was slightly more carefree.

Anyone who made a donation was invited to ward off the morning chill with coffee, hot chocolate and pastries, listen to rock classics and admire the many makes, models and colors of motorcycles parked outside.

Tom and Shawna Davis, of Rogue River, rode with Tom’s brother and a friend.

“We are definitely on the ride,” Tom said.

This was the fourth year the Davises have participated in the event but have had company along for the ride during the past couple of years.

They delivered six gifts this year. Tom’s mother supplied the toys.

This motorcycle riding event, Shawna said, “is the major one we do because of the kids.”

Hundreds of motorcyclists snake their way down Table Rock Road during the annual toy run Saturday in Central Point. Photo by Denise Baratta

Dan Kay and his granddaughter, Trinity Kay, both from Medford, were talking to some other bikers. The large stuffed unicorn they were donating was visible from a long distance away, even among scores of other motorcycles parked closely together.

The run used to include Phoenix and this is when the Kays started participating.

Trinity, 21, fondly remembers riding in past Toy Runs as a child.

Dan, whose outerwear featured the logo of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, said they are happy to ride in the event no matter the weather.

Only one year turned out to be a disappointment.

“We couldn’t go because our bike wouldn’t start,” he remarked.

Moving through the crowd and between the bikes was Tera Short, also of Medford. She was wearing a red and green outfit that allowed her to be easily picked out from among the sea of mostly blue denim and black leather.

And she knew many people there.

“I brought a Santa Claus bag full of gifts,” Short said.

She rode her father’s bike in the Toy Run.

After a couple of hours of socializing, the hundreds of motors began humming all at once and a long line of motorcycles began forming as the delivery ride commenced.

The Eagles Lodge is where the trip ended for the more than 300 bikes. The riders delivered generous donations of toys, games and other items meant to brighten the holidays for others. A large group of volunteers were warmly accepting the donations and placing them into delivery trucks set up in the Eagles’ parking lot.

Food and beverages were available there as well.

Thunderstruck Custom Bikes coordinates the Toy Run with help from an array of sponsors and volunteers.

Travis Linebaugh said the next phase is to sort through the donations and prepare them for delivery to local youths by separating items by age group.

“Everyone wants to support the kids,” Linebaugh said.

People interested in contributing to this year’s gift-giving effort can bring unwrapped gifts or gift cards to Thunderstruck at 3670 Dobson Rd., Medford and Star Body Works, 600 N. Central Ave., Medford, during their operating hours next week.

Eagle Point residents Beau Wilson, 7, and Savannah Wilson join Pam Crafts, right, of Central Point, in watching their family members ride in Saturday's toy run down Table Rock Road. Photo by Denise Baratta