By Josh Lanier
More than 500 motorcyclists took to the streets Sunday as part of the sixth annual Toy Run put together by Pat Rogers Speedway Harley Davidson to benefit Toys for Tots.
The ride began at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium and led back to the Pat Rogers shop on 10049 Weddington Road. Each participant needed to bring a toy to go to Toys for Tots to participate.
“It was a great day and a great ride,” said Butch Anderson, spokesman for Pat Rogers Speedway Harley-Davidson. “We were able to raise a good bit and this ride was held in honor of Pat’s mother (Arsie Rogers) who passed away in July.”
Cooperative Christian Ministry was also given a check for $6,048 that was raised from the event. Rogers himself donated $5,000 to the charity organization in honor of his mother, Anderson said.
Riders were given free food and door prizes once back at the Harley-Davidson shop.
“It’s great to just have so many riders around,” Keith Soffa, a motorcyclist at the event said. “The camaraderie is amazing.”
Soffa said rides like these show the changing demographics of motorcyclists.
“It’s much more corporate now,” he said. “You see older guys who aren’t the rebellious guys that riders are stereotyped to be.”
Thomas Moore, an avid motorcyclist at the event, said he’s glad to see the image of motorcyclists changing.
“People think we’re these tough guys who don’t care about anyone,” he said. “That’s not true at all. I love to get out to these events and help raise money for charities and every person here feels the same way.”
Moore said he also enjoyed the friendship motorcycle riders share but was excited to see how many toys and funds were raised for the charities. A tally of toys raised was not available at press time.
Chris Brewer said this was his first charity ride, and although a broken bike kept him from the ride, said he was glad to give to the charity.
“It’s always good to give back,” he said. “Especially when you get a chance to ride.”
• Contact reporter Josh Lanier: 704-789-9144.