BILOXI -- Hundreds of motorcycles roared into the Home Depot parking lot on Sunday, bringing with them toys for kids in South Mississippi.
This is the Asgard Motorcycle Club's 31st annual toy run, and spokesman Smokey Stepputat said 500 to 600 cycles typically participate. Sunday's warm temperatures increased the numbers.
"It was way more this year," said Kim Guice of Moss Point, an employee at Home Depot. "I stopped counting after 700," she said.
Some rode in with stuffed animals on their handle bars, others with toys tied on the back of the motorcycles. Together they filled a tractor trailer with remote-control cars, dolls, tricycles and other toys that were dropped off to Catholic Charities, The Salvation Army and Pack a Bag to be distributed to local children. The money, food and clothing were shared with St. Vincent De Paul, Santa Wears a Badge, Hope Haven and other groups.
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The Asgard Toy Run was Stepputat's idea more than 30 years ago. A group of bikers from California several partnered with the Marine Corp.'s Toys for Tots program and Stepputat said he wanted to do the same kind of promotion in South Mississippi, where the club also has donated more than $150,000 in support of the local Multiple Sclerosis Society.
"We wanted to start the season off with giving and sharing," he said.
The bikers rode in from Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana and met at the Home Depot to hand off the toys.
They wore shirts and vests with the names of their motorcycle groups: Talons, Galloping Gooses, U.S. Military Vets, Christian Motorcycle Association, Submarine Veterans, Buffalo Soldiers of Pass Christian, Red Knights Mississippi Chapter, Bandidos and many others.
"This is my favorite thing we do every year," said Jack Dilligaf, president of the LA Riders, who was one of about 16 bikers who rode from New Orleans.
"There are folks having hard times, we know that," said Cat Callaway of Picayune. "There's something about bikers and kids."
Another toy run will be Dec. 6 for kids in Jackson and George counties. D.J. Davis of Ocean Springs, treasurer of Talons Motorcycle Association, said registration begins at 10 a.m. at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Telephone Road in Pascagoula, and the ride will head west on U.S. 90 ride through Gautier, Vancleave and Wade and back to the Salvation Army in Pascagoula.