A little rain can’t wash away spirit of Fun Run

LYON COUNTY – Any Amiret resident who planned on a peaceful, quiet morning Saturday was out of luck, thanks to dozens of muffler-rattling motorcycles cruising into and out of town. But there were no complaints – anyone who lives there knew what was going on and knew the bikes were around for a good reason.

Saturday was the 22nd annual Toys 4 Tots Motorcycle Fun Run, which took bikers and riders from Amiret to Marshall and points in-between to drop off toys at the Hitching Post. After leaving Marshall, bikers broke off into two routes – one with three stops, the other with four – taking them to Belview, Pipestone, Luverne, Lismore, Milroy, Minneota, Montevideo and ultimately to Tracy to end the day.

And when they advertise “rain or shine,” they mean it. Not even a steady offering of precipitation Saturday morning could keep these motorcycle enthusiasts with big hearts from participating.

“It don’t mind it if you don’t get soaked, and we got a little soaked, but it’s fine,” said Diana Meaden of Slayton, who has been taking part in the fundraiser for the better part of 10 years. “We do this for the fundraising – being able to give toys to children who otherwise can’t afford toys at Christmastime – and the joy that we get from motorcycling. Win-win situation.”

“It’s fun to see all the people and visit with them,” said recently-retired Mike Paulson of Currie, who has been riding motorcycles since the 1970s and has toured all but two states on his bike. “I don’t mind the rain, I think it’s fun.”

Denise and Joe Birman organized the event for the second straight year.

“The forecast all week said it was supposed to be sunny, 89, then I woke up to this this morning,” Denise Birman said, refering to the weekend rain that lasted until about noon. “But it’s OK, we still have a good time.”

Money raised in last year’s Toys 4 Tots run went to Heart to Heart in Marshall, as well as organizations in Pipestone, Slayton, Worthington, Ivanhoe and Luverne.

Doug Bahr of Clements has taken part in the event six times.

“It’s a good cause, and we love ridin’,” he said. “We get wet sometimes, but it’ll wash off. Just ride with caution.”

As she presided over her second toy drop-off, Denise Birman said she’s already working on next year’s run.

“I’ve got some of it done already,” she said. “We have monthly meetings until June and then we meet once a week.”

In all, counting the riders and volunteers, about 250 people were involved in this year’s event.