Red Young returned to the Okanagan Motorcycle Riders’ Association Toy Run as Santa to lead them through the rain on Sunday. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Santa and the Okanagan Motorcycle Riders Association brave the rain for 32nd annual Toy Run

The riders gathered up donations for the St. Vincent De Paul Society in Penticton.

The annual Okanagan Motorcycle Riders Association’s Toy Run has gone through bad weather before, although this year’s Sunday of rain was worse than usual.

Read More: OMRA Christmas Toy Run goes Sunday in Penticton

“Since I started doing the toy run nine years ago,” said organizer Jack Batstone. “This is probably the worst weather we’ve had. But I think it was a good turnout, there were a lot more people who showed up as audience, and they all bought tickets, and that turned out really good. It’s still raining out, but I think everything still worked out.”

In previous years, the Toy Run has seen between 80 to 100 riders travel the circuit from Penticton to Summerland to Oliver and back again. This year, 25 motorcycles braved the rains to pick up the toy donations for Christmas this year.

“This is the first time it has been this miserable,” said Red Young, who rode as Santa Claus. “It has rained before but not for the whole ride. So attendance is down and yields are down, but it’s still raising for the kids. ”

Young donned the familiar red and white for his 21st Toy Run, having officially put up the coat last year to be regular rider, something he’s looking forward to returning to next year.

Read More: The 31st Annual Toy Run a success

Last year’s Toy Run also faced a rainy day, although the weather then held off until the end of ride. That run raised over $1,500 for the kids, and brought in over 300 donated toys. This year’s money hasn’t been counted yet, and the pile of toys was noticeably smaller. The drop in donations wasn’t due solely to the weather either.

“The other big reason is because Kelowna has their Toy Run on the same day,” Batstone said. “So we’re going to have to figure that out.

All of the toys and the money raised by the raffles and 50/50 sale during the Toy Run goes to the St. Vincent De Paul Society in Penticton for Christmas. This year, the winners of the 50/50 draw for $135 and the Schwinn bicycle raffle donated their prizes back to the Toy Run.

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