Toy Run Rally support remains strong in second year since change

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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WICHITA, Kan. -- Donating one bicycle more than 20 years ago was the beginning of what is now a family tradition for the Olmstead's.

That one bicycle was Elvin and Sheri Olmstead's first donation to the Wichita Toy Run Rally. Each year since, their donation has grown. Their tradition of donating on 'Toy Run Rally Sunday' is now supported by their friends, coworkers, and local businesses.

All that support has allowed them to this year donate 47 bicycles.

"We grew up in a time where we didn't have things when we were kids and we want kids to have things," Elvin Olmstead said.

That's the spirit that has fueled the Wichita Toy Run Rally for 34 years. The event benefits the Marine Corps Reserve's Toys for Tots program.

"It takes this kind of support to help kids get some gifts they normally wouldn't get," biker Jerry Torgerson said. "So, it's important to us."

Bikers piled toy donations high on a tarp in the middle of Osage Street.

"When I see all of this, I'm proud of being a motorcycle enthusiast in the Wichita community," organizer Terisa Olson said. "It makes me feel good to know that people out there care about their neighbors and friends."

The support for the event has continued, for the most part, despite last year's decision to eliminate the ceremonial ride down Broadway. It's a decision that initially rubbed many bikers the wrong way. But many now say fellow bikers have come to terms with it.

"I think there's a lot more people on board this year," said biker Leana Green, who has just opened a new leather shop in Wichita called Knucklehead Leather. "They just need to remember they can start a new tradition and start their 'run' from wherever they want as long as they end up out here (in Delano) and bring a toy."

Or, instead of one toy, they can bring more than 50 toys like Elvin and Sheri Olmstead did. The Olmstead's are proposing a little friendly competition.

"We challenge someone to beat us!" Sheri Olmstead said.

They're hope is the toys and the support for the Wichita Toy Run Rally keep rolling in.

"You can see the whole community gets involved and we are grateful for that," Elvin Olmstead said.

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