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Santa’s helpers will be clad in leather and seated on chrome this weekend.
The 16th annual Hardin County Toys for Tots Run, which typically attracts large numbers of bikers each year, will rev up Sunday afternoon from Staples in Elizabethtown, collecting toys for needy children.
Registration is from 12:30 to 2 p.m.
Vickie Wheeler, an event coordinator, said participants will ride from Elizabethtown to Veterans Memorial Park in West Point, where food and drinks will be provided. Motorcycles, cars, hot rods and other vehicles are welcome.
“Hopefully the road will be opened by then,” she said of U.S. 31W, which has been closed near West Point intermittently since 13 cars of a 57-car Paducah-and-Louisville Railway train derailed near the Ohio River Dragway at the end of October.
Wheeler said organizers are working on an alternate route for the run in case the road is blocked Sunday.
Admission to the run is one toy. Organizers have set no expectations on the number of toys collected during the drive, Wheeler said.
“We’re just happy for whatever we get,” she said. “Some people bring a whole bike full of toys. Some people just bring one. We’re just appreciative.”
Wheeler said the run yielded enough toys last year to assist around 1,600 kids in Hardin County. So far, she said, coordinators have been successful in collecting toys to a level where no child has been turned away.
The event is sponsored by Harley-Davidson of Louisville in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. While the run is geared specifically for Hardin County, Wheeler said their efforts benefit 14 local counties with runs in surrounding communities, including Bullitt and Jefferson counties.
“Our Marines do a wonderful job,” Wheeler said. “They’re a good bunch of guys.”
Last year’s event was plagued by rain, which thinned the turnout, but most years attract thousands, she said.
“A typical crowd could be 2,000,” she said.
Wheeler said the first year of the run attracted around 174 participants but two years ago saw a group of more than 2,500 show up to ride.
Wheeler said early forecasts indicate better weather this year, which would strengthen turnout.
“We should do very well,” she said.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or email@example.com.