Bikers stage 'turkey run' for needy families<BR>
Grand Canyon Harley Davidson, the Yavapai Arizona Chapter of Harley Owners Group and Hailey's Grill put together a turkey run on Saturday, November 23 to benefit the St. Vincent DePaul food bank.
John Wolven, public relations officer for Grand Canyon, said about 40 riders brought a total of 78 birds and a pickup load of toys and non-perishable food items for donation.
"This was the first ever 'Birds on Bikes' run for this area, and we were really surprised we collected as much as we did," he said "As far as we are concerned, it was tremendously successful. It came together in a matter of a week."
Wolven said the run came about as an effort to supply the pantry for the upcoming holiday season.
"Because of a drop in donations all over, the distribution center in Phoenix just didn't have enough stuff to send to the outlying locations," he said. "So, we decided this was something we could do up here as a motorcycle group and dealership to help the local people. One of our HOG members is a restaurant owner and he brought a dozen turkeys himself."
Dick Doughton, owner of Grand Canyon Harley-Davidson, said he was pleased to be able to help St. Vincent help others.
"They told me they only had eight birds in their freezers and already had over 38 requests for meals for Thanksgiving," he said. "This year it was just impromptu. Next year we hope to make it a major event."
Caroline Johnson, spokesperson for St. Joseph's Conference, the operator of both the pantry and thrift store, said she is grateful for the generous assistance.
"It went over great," she said. "That meant that we got to feed 80 more families."
The ride began in two locations. Riders took to the road from the soon-to-open Grand Canyon location on Whiskey Row in Prescott, while others started at Carefree highway and Interstate 17 in Phoenix.
Hailey's general manager Tundra Anderson said owners Linda and Richard Swalve joined with Grand Canyon in providing participants a free buffet breakfast at the end of the run.
"We fed them as a thank-you," she said. "We did it for the community and to help out our neighbors. It was fun."
Dick Mull, Grand Canyon General manager, said he is going to work to make next year's event much larger.
"If we don't get 200 turkeys, I'll be very disappointed," he said. "We are going to promote this a lot sooner and do a lot more."
Wolven said he also plans to draw in the auto groups and car clubs to participate in next year's run.
"We plan to make this an annual run. I've talked to other motorcycle groups in the last few days that want to become part of this whole thing next year," he said. "We would like to pull all these guys in and also open it up to the public, to anyone who wishes to be a part of this thing. We accept donations from anyone, gladly."
Anderson said the next planned events are Dec. 7 and Dec. 15 to collect toys for local kids and to have some Christmas fun showing off their big-boy toys. Hailey's Grill is again sponsoring the Cruse Day Toy Run and Car Show to collect donations for the Kiwanis Club of Big Bug Creek 'Toys for Kids' program. The 'Toys for Kids' Program collects and distributes toy donations to local children who might not otherwise have a very merry Christmas. The toy run starts at Hailey's at 12 p.m. and goes until 4 p.m. Whether your ride is an Electra-Glide or an Edsel, the entry fee for the event is one new, unwrapped toy.
The event includes trophies for best Corvette, best PT Cruiser and Best of Show.
The judges will also recognize entrants for best original classic car and best club participation. In addition to the individual awards, there is also a 50/50 raffle, food and drink specials and the live music of 'Rondevue'.
For more information call Hailey's Grill at 928-632-4448