Tantramar Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run organizer Mike Purdy starts his engine as he prepares to lead this year’s convoy of approximately 750 people on 500 bikes . DOHERTY PHOTO
SACKVILLE, N.B. – Celebrating the 25th annual Tantramar Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run TTFTMR on Saturday, Sept. 7, approximately 750 people on 500 motorcycles from Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes came out in full force 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, organizers were able to raise approximately $15,000 in new toys and financial assistance for families at Christmas and families experiencing difficult times in their lives. Since 1989, the TTFTMR 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 event has hosted approximately 6,700 people and 4,500 motorcycles.
The TTFTMR is a registered charitable organization and annually supports Moncton Headstart, Sackville Christmas Cheer, Port Elgin Voluntary Action Group, Dorchester Volunteer Association and Amherst Christmas for Kids Campaign and has supported several other causes over the years.
As has been 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 TTFTMR for $1000, 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 their thanks for all of the years of support and told the inmates that their donation was indeed doing good work for families in the area.
At 2 p.m., the TTFTMR, 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 TTFTMR. 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. Awards were presented to long distance rider Arnie Scott, who traveled from Toronto to attend the event. The 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. This was the place to be for anyone who wanted to have a great time and support kids at the same time. 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. Volunteer and local musician 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).
Another event held throughout the year add to Toy Run coffers, included 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 of McDonalds and Johnny Long of 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, organizers 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), Mount 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.
Contact Mike Purdy at 506-536-7006, email email@example.com or visit our website www.toyrun.ca to support the contact Mike Purdy 506-536-7006, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.toyrun.ca or for information on corporate sponsorship opportunities for this year or subsequent campaigns.
Mike Purdy is founder and long-time organizer of the Tantramar Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run.