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Bikers Ride For Tots

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Kodak, Sevier County (WVLT) – East Tennessee bikers swapped their dew rags for elves ears Sunday afternoon in Sevier County.

It wasn’t for fashion, but rather charity as thousands hit the road for the 16th Annual East Tennessee Toy Run.

The ride gives needy kids the Christmas presents they wouldn't have otherwise.

There is nothing like a Christmas gift from a big-hearted biker.

"When I found that toy I had tears in my eyes,” said biker Carla Skeen.

That’s because it was the same toy that changed Carla’s childhood.

"Growing up poor, it was just enough to get something that someone thought so much about,” she said. “They were picking something out for that special person and I was that special person."

Carla is now the one making donations because she believes she can make a difference and help someone have a wonderful Christmas.

"It's going to make their Christmas,” said biker Terry Hensley, “It may be the only thing they get this year."

There were more than 1,000 bikers on the 16th Annual East Tennessee Toy Run.

"It's $10 per person or they can donate an unwrapped toy," said Duane Fladd who was working the event.

"In year's past we've done as many as 6,000 kids," said Jim White who organized the ridge.

White was dressed as Santa Claus, with the only difference being he had traded reindeer power for horse power and his sled to a semi, filled full of toys.

"It's always been headquartered in Sevier County, so that's where we start,” White said. “We'll take applications then we expand out from there."

Chrome and steel were in no short supply, but it's the bikers' soft spot for kids that brought them there.

"It's about the little fellas that don't have nothing,” said biker Benny Wilson. “We're going to be the ones to be there and see that they do have."

So the bikers turned elves revved up and headed down the highway.

"Though I may not know these kids, it makes me happy that I can touch someone," said Hensley.

For Clara Skeen, the ride is a thank you to the person who gave her that toy three decades ago.
Bikers, behind Santa, were giving back.

"It feels so good," Clara said.

All the toys collected today will be distributed on December 15th.

If you would like to help out, it's not too late.

You can find out how by clicking on the Shiloh Riders Association website, linked on the Hot Key below.


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