Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

December 16, 2012

More than 2,000 motorcycles rally for needy children

LAKE PARK — Though Santa Claus is in rush time with only 10 days left until Christmas, he still managed to make it from the North Pole to help the Outback Riders rally more than 2,000 motorcycles Saturday for the 20th Annual Toy Ride.

“I’m a member of the Outback Riders,” said Santa. “I do this every year.”

The Outback Riders started the Toy Ride in 1993 with the goal of giving back to the community and providing toys for underprivileged children who would otherwise not have a Christmas.

Now one of the biggest toy runs in Georgia, the Toy Ride has become an instrumental part of the Empty Stocking Fund — sponsored by the Salvation Army, Guardian Bank and The Valdosta Daily Times — in large part, thanks to the late J.R. “Jim” Hennly.

Hennly was a retired banker and avid motorcycle rider and cared for the finances and the overall well-being of the Empty Stocking Fund for more than 30 years. The Outback Riders presented a $1,000 check to Margie Blanton from Guardian Bank in memory of Hennly and his contribution to the cause.

“He was a phenomenal man,” said Blanton as she accepted the check.

In addition, the Outback Riders also presented a $1,000 check to the executive director of the Raintree Village, a youth foster home in Dasher.

Aside from $2,000 in monetary donations, the Outback Riders had a donated soapbox derby car given to Cub Scout Pack 416 in Lake Park and also helped organize the drop-off of thousands of toys Saturday to the Salvation Army.

“The main thing we like to do is give back to the community,” said Outback Rider Jimmy Land. “We’re here to help the kids that won’t have things for Christmas.”

Motorcyclist Charles E. Sheffield rode into Lake Park Saturday morning with his riding partner Pippin.

“He’s a grand-dog,” said Sheffield.

This is the fourth year that Sheffield and Pippin have rode together in the Toy Ride.

“Every year, I ride with him,” said Sheffield. “He loves to ride.”

A popular attraction, Pippin danced for approaching riders and even brought a toy to donate himself.

“I brought one from me and one from Pippin,” said Sheffield.

While Pippin was the most unique riding partner, there was a variety of Christmas-themed bikes ranging from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to a bike outfitted in pink tinsel and a pink Santa hat.

While every bike had its personality, each was outfitted with a toy that made the drive from the outlet mall in Lake Park to 5 Points in Valdosta.

“Riders always seem to come together for causes and what better cause than to donate toys to children,” said Outback Rider Don Brotherton.

It is this very cause that even drove some current members to join.

“I’m from Valdosta and seeing it before we joined, I was just amazed,” said Outback Rider Cheryl Folsom.

One “honorary Outback Rider” rode from Pensacola, Fla., to participate in the Toy Ride.

“I come up every year,” said Lyn Hart. “I got involved through a friend.”

Valdosta Mayor John Gayle might have been persuaded to join as well after Saturday.

“I used to ride a little bit,” said Gayle. “Seeing this, I might ride with you next year.”

“It’s the only way you’ll get re-elected,” shouted someone from the crowd causing Gayle to laugh.

Gayle was impressed with the turnout and expressed whole-heartedly that Valdosta was proud of all who participated.

“You are donating to children who might not even have a Christmas if it was not for what you do,” said Gayle.

The 72 degree weather might have counteracted a winter-white snow, but the generosity and compassion of more than 2,000 riders was indicative of the type of Christmas spirit that could only be had in South Georgia.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 140421 - flooding Shiloh Rd B#1.jpg Road re-opens following flooding

    Lowndes County officials re-opened one road Monday while keeping an eye on the area’s waterways for potential flooding.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Justice_Scales.jpg Second ‘Quitman 11’ case mistrial

    Another week-long trial ended again in mistrial last week in the case of Lula Smart, the Brooks County woman charged in a case of unlawful possession of election ballots, according to court officials Monday.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • graphic.jpg School systems get report cards

    South Georgia school systems received mixed results, with some showing performance increases while others suffered decreases, in the College and Career Ready Performance Index released Monday by Georgia State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • flood4c.jpg Flood warning extended

    A flood warning for the Withlacoochee River at Valdosta has been extended until Wednesday afternoon.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • doug henderson.jpg Memorial tourney returns

    The Doug Henderson III Memorial Golf Tournament has raised thousands of dollars for scholarship funds and to help organizations throughout the region.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914-WA-Egghunt021.jpg Park puts wild spin on Easter tradition

    Adventurous egg hunters braved overcast skies and a persistent drizzle to search for hidden prizes Saturday during Wild Adventure’s first Ostrich Egg Hunt.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • FallenTree003.JPG More spills reported

    City of Valdosta employees have spent the weekend responding to spills caused by several inches of rain that have again drenched the city during the past few days.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Underwater Easter_Rich copy.jpg Stories behind ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’

    Christ comes from the Greek word, “Christos,” meaning “the anointed one.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418_valwood001.jpg Valwood students register to vote

    Valwood teaches its students about the importance of voting. Each year, the school has encouraged eligible seniors to register to vote and participate in local elections.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • wadebrandon14.jpg Police still seeking missing mother, son

    Though their assignments have changed during the past dozen years, Valdosta Police Capt. Bobbi McGraw and Sgt. Chris Crews continue working the case of a missing mother and her son.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results