Thousands of motorcycles roared into the Depot District Sunday afternoon as a part of the 2012 Toys for Tots parade. The ride was put on by Wild West Harley Davidson and the United States Marine Corps, and the only admission needed to take part was one, unopened new toy.
Motorcycles lined 18th Street for three blocks. At the intersection of 18th and Buddy Holly, riders lined up to pass off their toys to members of the Marine Corps. Marines loaded the toys into two large trucks. The trucks can hold up to 6,000 toys and Marine Amy Siegfried expects to be close to that number.
"Last year I think we had over 2,000 people that were riding and we had over 4,500 toys that we collected just from that event alone," she said.
Siegfried is the Lubbock County Toys for Tots Coordinator. She says it's important for people in Lubbock understand why the Marines do this.
"The Marine Corps is all about the mission, but October through December we get to care about our community, so it's a great way for us to give back. Any needy kids in Lubbock County from ages 0-14 can get toys, so if any families need help they can just come register with us and we sign them up for toys," Siegfried said.
Michael Martinez, Stephanie Martinez and Bob Davis all rode from Wild West Harley Davidson to the Depot.
"My brother is a Marine," Michael said. "He served, my nephews are in the service and I have a boy. We've been fortunate that we can bless our son. We know friends that have family who have seen hard times and I've seen how these guys have touched their lives. Not only the bikers, but the Marines handing out the toys - it means a lot. You see those kids wake up Christmas morning and get to open up a bunch of presents. It's awesome."
"I think that it's just in their hearts to help. The biker community is a big community and they're all giving," Stephanie said.
Bob says he wasn't trying to find this year's hottest toy, but did admit that he had a plan when he was shopping for Sunday's ride.
"Being a biker we just went and found some Harley Davidson toys. Kids like motorcycles," he said. "We're here for one reason and that's for the kids, so we just picked out a toy. I imagine they'll appreciate anything they get."
Harley Clause was also on scene to help the kids. Harley will be at an event on Dec. 15 at Wild West Harley Davidson where children can take photos with him for donations. One hundred percent of the money raised will go to charity. He's happy to come help a great cause.
"These Marines dedicate their lives to fight for our country and this is just a small way we can give back. It's great, it's absolutely great. What we do for these kids is indescribable," he said. "It really is."
Monetary donations can be made online at www.toysfortots.org.
Copyright 2012 KCBD. All rights reserved.