11/06/05 — HOGs turned Santa Claus

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HOGs turned Santa Claus

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on November 6, 2005 2:05 AM

Hundreds of needy children in Wayne County will have a merrier Christmas the eighth annual H.O.G. Toy Run from Smithfield to Goldsboro.

More than 900 riders of shiny motorcycles -- many of whom are members of the Harley Owners Group, or H.O.G. -- brought at least one toy on a perfect, cloudless Saturday afternoon.

"It turned out real well," said Shelton Davis, the owner of Shelton's Harley-Davidson.

Davis has teamed with United Way of Wayne County and the Boys and Girl Scouts on the project. He estimated that more than 1,500 toys were collected and then turned over to Scout leaders.

"They know more and do more in the community," he said before the toy run. "They know people who really need them. All three are great organizations."

"This is a great thing that Shelton does," said Steve Parr, the executive director of United Way of Wayne County. "It will make a lot of kids happy."

Security-Atlas Storage Co. donated a truck to collect the toys in.

Chuck and Diane Skinner of Jacksonville were riding in their first toy run. In fact, they had been riding a motorcycle only since 2000, when their son moved and could not keep it. He had bought the bike while he was in service in Germany.

Skinner said the toy run was a great thing and they hope to ride in it again next year.

A couple from Clinton, Ronnie and Kathy Robinson, will make five children happy. They got up early, went to a Clinton department store, bought five toys and rode to Davis' store in Smithfield, where the motorcyclists assembled. They left at about noon and arrived at about 12:45 p.m.

Mrs. Robinson said she has always liked motorcycles and horses. When they married six years ago, her husband said he got a Harley. They have ridden in all eight toy runs.

The Robinsons also rode in toy runs that were sponsored by an auto dealer and a church in Clinton.

Mrs. Robinson said she even cried at a similar run in Raleigh where the toys were passed out to children who live in group homes.

"They don't have a thing with their parents locked up," she said.

"We get a lot of personal satisfaction from this," he said.

Davis said the toy run started with 50 or 60 motorcyclists.

"Toy runs originated a while back, but I don't know who originated it," Davis said. "It's been around for a while."

"We really like to give back to the community as much as possible," he said.

Some bikers brought bags of toys and other brought them to the store before the run.

"The weather helped out," Davis said. "...It just keeps growing."