By Travis Sloat
Ryan Denney said the Christian Motorcycle Association was a place he knew he would fit in.
“It’s a great way to minister to people,” Denney said. “They did a ride in to my church (Church 4:18), and I joined about two months ago. I’ve been riding motorcycles for eight years, and this is a good way to help local kids.”
Denny and his friend Brian Marshall were two of about 50 motorcyclists who participated in the recent CMA Toy Ride in Fort Gibson. The bikers gathered in a parking lot off Poplar Street with toys strapped to the back of their bikes.
The annual Muskogee Area Toy Run is set for noon Sunday at Curt’s shopping center. The ride is open to anybody — not just bikers — who wants to bring a new toy, Troy Underwood said. Participants can gather at the shopping center at noon for the ride, which will begin at 1 p.m. Spectators are welcome along the route.
Tahlequah also will hold a toy run at noon Saturday, starting at the Northeastern State University football field
Marshall said he thought the event in Fort Gibson promoted a good Christian way to ride his motorcycle.
“I love it,” he said. “I was looking for something to get into, something to keep me out of trouble, and this it. I’m riding with these guys; when I was younger I got into some trouble, and this is a way to kind of redeem myself.”
The bikers each brought a toy as their admission price for the ride, and they were treated to coffee and doughnuts before they took the trip across Fort Gibson to the Church of Christ on Lee Street to deliver the toys.
Gene Haddock, the president of the CMA Muskogee chapter, spent some time trying to figure out how long he’d been riding motorcycles while his friends teased him in the background.
“I’ve been riding 41 years,” Haddock said. “I started when I was 12. I’ve been a member of the CMA for five years, and president for two.”
Haddock said he got started with the organization because he was looking for a group of riders that didn’t barhop.
“As we got more involved, we found out there was more to the organization than just riding,” he said. “It’s a ministry. We go to rallies, we fix meals, and if they’re willing to listen, we share the Lord with them.”
Vonda Haddock, secretary for the Muskogee chapter, said the group advertised on Facebook to get the word out, and she was pleased with the response.
“This is for everybody in the Fort Gibson area,” said Haddock. “We’ll have one in Muskogee (on Sunday). That’s the really big one. Some of these folks bring two or three toys per bike.”
Tommy Cartwright, a participant in the event and a member of A Brotherhood Aiming Toward Education, summed up the feeling he got simply and succinctly.
“It feels good,” he said. “I love it.”
If you go
WHAT: Annual Muskogee Area Toy Run.
WHERE: Curt’s shopping center.
WHEN: Noon Sunday.
ETC.: The procession will go south on York Street to Chandler Road, west along Chandler (and later Okmulgee Avenue) to Spaulding Boulevard, south on Spaulding to the Columbus Avenue viaduct and end at the Bedouin Shrine Temple, 201 S. 6th St., where refreshments will be available.
INFORMATION: (918) 348-5582 or (918) 687-6171.
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WHAT: Annual Tahlequah Toy Run.
WHERE: Northeastern State University football field.
WHEN: Noon Saturday.