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Motorcycle clubs ride through Statesboro to collect toys for needy children
112214 TOY RUN 01
Spectators gather on South Main Street as Santa Claus makes his through downtown Statesboro on a motorcycle-led sleigh during Saturday's Santa's Toy Run. Motorcycle clubs banded together to shuttle Santa and deliver toys to be donated to the Division of Family and Children Services. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Motorcycles, corvettes and law enforcement vehicles brought Santa Claus to downtown Statesboro Saturday for the 12th year of Santa's Toy Run.

Sponsored by Statesboro's Southern Thunder Cruisers motorcycle club, Santa's Toy Run is their biggest fundraiser and collects money or toys to donate to the Division of Family and Children Services.

Clubs from all over southeast Georgia participate each year, and this year marks their biggest turnout so far, said Curtis Gay, the president of Southern Thunder Cruisers. One hundred twenty-eight motorcycles, 13 Corvettes and 200 participants gathered in the Ogeechee Technical College parking lot.

Outgrowing their earlier meeting spots, the motorcyclists were pleased with the new location.

Stan York, Ogeechee Tech's director of campus safety and security and former Statesboro police chief, said that when the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office asked if the space could be used, OTC President Dr. Dawn Cartee immediately approved it.

Law enforcement officers joined in the event with off-duty, volunteer sheriff's deputies leading the throng of riders, Brooklet Interim Police Chief Tracy Atkinson riding her motorcycle along with the motorcade, and Register and Statesboro police officers stationed in both cities to help with traffic flow.

George Pollard, the president of the Redeemed Riders, the Statesboro Chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, welcomed the crowd and spoke just before participants started their engines.

"The greatest gift during this season is the gift of love that God showed by sending his son, Jesus Christ," Pollard said. "Thank you for sharing your love at Christmas. I've always said, bikers are some of the most giving and loving people. You've got that bond, no matter what you ride. You have a joy when you ride. Thank you for taking that joy and sharing with other people."

After a prayer by W.C. Stringer, Christian Motorcyclists Association chaplain, motorcycles roared into action. The motorcade ended at the flea market on U.S. Highway 301 North with a special Santa visit for children from the Boys and Girls Club of Bulloch County.

Around $2,800 was collected to use for toys for DFCS to distribute to needy children.


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