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Toy Run is getting back to basics

Hinton’s first toy run
Photo submitted by Randy Fidler

Masha Scheele

Hinton did not have a toy run prior to 1985, and it wasn’t until two motorcycles passed each other going in opposite directions on Macleod Avenue that the idea of a toy run was set into motion.

Randy Fidler was on one bike and quickly turned around to catch up to the other bike in order to tell the biker that Hinton ought to have a toy run.

The other biker was Gord Stark, and he agreed.

“So, we started a toy run,” said Fidler. “ It all started when everyone on a bike was a bad guy, so they started that to try and change the persona. And the kids need toys.”

Stark and Fidler contacted the Kinsmen and hosted their first kids toy run in the fall of 1985 with 22 bikers present.

They created posters and advertised their event to draw interest from the public.

Two years later, 40 bikers took part in the toy run and over the last few years they’ve had around 100 bikers participate.

The first few toy runs were held on Thanksgiving weekend, but it turned out that weekend was too cold for a few motorcycles to hit the road to Hinton. 

The date was changed to the weekend after the September long weekend and it has stayed there ever since.

“At the first toy run, we decided as a club that we should get together and make an association,” said Fidler.

Phone numbers were collected and soon an association was formed with the government. Since 1987, they’ve been known as the Foothills Road Riders Association.

Participation and support of the association dwindled over the years, but recently Fidler and a few other longtime members have come back and taken over the leadership in hopes of gaining some new momentum in the club.

“We used to run a party in the spring and people would come from all over for it and get together,” he said.

That party was dropped 15 years ago and added to the toy run instead, making it a big community event.

“There has been a party with live music and motorcycle games for the weekend. Now we’re going to downscale it, we’re either having a quiet camp out or some local live music, we haven’t decided yet,” said Fidler.

Fidler explained that they want to try and draw in more people who ride motorcycles and that essentially their motorcycles will be their ticket into the night portion of the event after the toy run.

“We want to reinvent the toy run and bring out more motorcycles for the toy run,” he said.

He’s not sure if motorcycle games will be part of this year’s toy run but hopes to bring something back to the event to bring more value to the association membership.

He chuckled as he described how some of the motorcycle games worked, like the slowest race where the last biker to pass the finish line without touching the ground wins.

The toy run and the association started at a time when many people were scared of bikers, and that was something they wanted to change.

Over time, the bikers have changed too, said Fidler.

They hope for more participation from anyone that loves motorcycles.

“Right now there are 25 members of the association, we were up in the 60s, 70s, 80s before,” he said.

For the toy run, they have many more bikers that come out from mostly the surrounding area.

The toy run will start at the mall on Sept. 7 and parade around town before dropping off the toys.

The evening portion of the event will be for bikers only this year, more details on that will be announced in the coming weeks.