Thursday, July 12, 2012
Fallout continues after news that a decades-old tradition will see a major change this year. The 33rd edition of the Wichita Toy Run will not have a parade of motorcycles. Instead, it will be a rally in Delano where riders can drop off a toy for charity.
We've gotten used to seeing thousands of motorcycles heading north on Broadway to deliver a toy to the Marine's Toys For Tots program every year. But that won't be the sight from now on.
It can be said that the annual toy run in Wichita became a victim of its own success. After last year's run, it was clear a change needed to be made.
"The police department and the city had no desire to shut down the toy run because it is a worthwhile organization," said Wichita Police Lt. Joe Schroeder. "When we left their meeting, the understanding was they would come back to us with the ideas they had and they would make a decision and contact us."
After the death of longtime organizer Holly Potelle last month, many people became concerned that the changes were not her wishes.
"Holly was very instrumental in organizing all of the meetings concerning these changes," explained new Toy Run Rally organizer Terisa Olson. "She was well aware of the changes. She chaired all the meetings up until her death, including the meeting that we had the vote."
The toy run committee has heard both positive and negative criticism about this year's change, but Olson says it's important to remember that the Toy Run was always about doing something for the community.
"It wasn't about getting out and riding," said Olson. "It was about how we as a motorcycle community can help give back to people in our community."
Even the police department says the Toy Run committee has been faced with undue criticism.
"They've been hit with a tragic loss, with the loss of Holly," said Lt. Schroeder. "She was a huge part of that committee and those other members are just working themselves to death to make this thing work and they're catching a lot of criticism I don't think is fair."
The 2012 Wichita Toy Run will instead be a toy rally. Bikers will gather in Delano anytime during the day on November Fourth so they can drop off a toy or cash to the rally's charities. You can find a link to the Toy Run Rally websit by clicking here.