Celebrating our 25th Annual Tantramar “Toys for Tots” Motorcycle Run on Saturday, September 7, 2013, approximately 750 people on 500 motorcycles from Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes showed up big time in support of less advantaged kids and families in surrounding areas.
With the help of corporate donations, individual sponsors, the motorcyclists and the evening concert, we were able to raise approximately $15,000.00 in NEW toys and financial assistance for families at Christmas and families experiencing difficult times in their lives. Since 1989, the Tantramar “Toys for Tots” Motorcycle Run has generated over $245,000 in financial aid and new toys, with half of that total coming in the past eight years. Since 2006, the Toy Run has hosted approximately 6700 people and 4500 motorcycles!
As we have done in 23 of the past 25 years, about 20 bikers traveled to Westmorland Institution in Dorchester where the Inmate Committee presented a cheque to the Toy Run for $1000.00, bringing their lifetime donations to approximately $24,000! The Westmorland Inmates have been the single largest financial sponsors of the run since 1989. Toy Run organizers presented the inmates with a one-of-a-kind hand made trophy and expressed our thanks for all of the years of support and told the inmates that their donation was indeed doing “good works” for families in the area.
At 2 p.m., the Toy Run, with excellent traffic support from the RCMP and the Red Knights MC made the trek through Middle Sackville and on to Dorchester with motorcycles returning to the Tantramar Veterans Memorial Civic Centre as supporters lined the route, a gesture that is sincerely appreciated by the bikers.
Once inside the Civic Centre, Sackville Mayor Bob Berry gave the bikers a warm welcome along with congratulations on the 25th Annual Toy Run. In recognition of the support bikers have given since 1989, a special draw kicked things off for a prize package from Casino New Brunswick worth over $400.00. Awards were presented to Long Distance Rider Arnie Scott who traveled from Toronto to attend the event, (Runner up was Gerry Marshall of Montreal who at 77 years old was making his second consecutive Toy Run appearance). Some other awards handed out were Most Mature Male Rider (presented to long time supporter Bob Scott, 78), Most Mature Female Rider (Helen Elliot) and recognition of the youngest riders, oldest motorcycles, etc.
A “Texas Mickey” donated by Rick Reid Automotive was drawn for as was a 50/50 draw.
A moment of celebration broke out as we remembered our biker brother, Eddie Dawson, who passed away earlier this year and others who have left us over the past years.
Later in the evening at the Civic Centre, the Molson Canada sponsored concert featured Matt Minglewood with DC Smith & The Streamliners kicking things off in supreme fashion. If you wanted to have a great time and support kids at the same time, this was the place to be. Fundraising efforts continued during the concert. The Air Canada Foundation donated airfare for two to any Air Canada destination in North America including Mexico, Alaska and the Caribbean which was won by Frank Elliott with the runner up Majorie Scott receiving a guitar effects pedal from Purdy Tube Amps and signed by Matt Minglewood. Local musician and volunteer Roy Dawson auctioned off a prize package featuring a Molson Beer Fridge along with items autographed by Matt Minglewood, The Stampeders and Dr. Hook (Ray Sawyer).
Other events held throughout the year add to Toy Run coffers, including the Moncton Motorcycle Show in February, where tickets were sold on an Epiphone guitar, donated by Randy Clarke of Long & McQuade, Moncton. The guitar was autographed by Valdy, Graham Wardrop of New Zealand, Burton Cummings and Bill Henderson (Chilliwack ) and won by Bear Davis of Springhill, N.S. In April, a Swap Meet held in Amherst at Teazers Bar & Grill also helped the cause.
A very special thanks to all the volunteers, businesses, individuals, organizations and bikers who help to make this run function each year. So many volunteers have stepped up in past few years and it’s very much appreciated by the committee! Also, a big thank you goes out to Danny Moore (McDonalds) and Johnny Long (Esso), who have, for many years, permitted us to use their parking lots to begin our run.
Over the years, the event has hosted from a low of 17 motorcycles (in 1996 when a bunch of CRAZY bikers headed out during Hurricane Hortense despite the wind warnings) to a high of 850 motorcycles in 2007. We see different faces every year but in 24 years out of 25, a core group of about 40 supporters arrive each year from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Next to the Ride for Sight, we believe that the Tantramar Toy Run is the largest single day motorcycle fundraiser in South- Eastern New Brunswick and the longest running registered charity associated with motorcycle enthusiasts.
Also present during the festivities raising funds for other great causes were the Sackville Fire Department who were selling tickets on their annual Truck Draw (and helping with traffic control), Mt A students in huge numbers raising lots of money for Shinerama and folks from the Bob Edgett Memorial Boxing Club who held a barbeque in support of their efforts to build a new Boxing Club
The Tantramar “Toys for Tots” Motorcycle Run is a registered, non-profit charitable organization and annually supports Moncton Headstart, Sackville Christmas Cheer, Port Elgin District Voluntary Action Group, Dorchester Volunteer Association and Amherst “Christmas for Kids” Campaign. In addition, over the years we have financially contributed to the Sackville Memorial Hospital, Children’s Wish Foundation, Terry Fox Run, Bob Edgett’s Boxing Club, Amherst Accessible Playground Project, Tree of Life, Hot Lunch Programs, Tantramar Civic Centre, Playground Improvements, Sackville Athletics, Rare Breed for Rare Disease, Secret Santa, Ronald McDonald House and have supported area families who had children with very serious illnesses.
From the Toy Run organizers, we wish you good health and the very best in your lives.
Peace and Love to you all!