Santa rides a Harley in Eagle County Saturday |

Santa rides a Harley in Eagle County Saturday

Emma Brown
Eagle County, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyAt last year's Hogs and Rods toy run a truckful of toys and about $1,000 was collected for the Salvation Army., which is getting increased requests for help because locals have either lost their jobs or are working fewer hours.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Santa will be riding a Harley Davidson in Eagle County, Colorado on Saturday.

The Hogs and Rods 12th annual Toy Run will depart Brush Creek Saloon Eagle at 1 p.m. and finish at Finnegan’s Wake Pub at Avon around 2:30 p.m.

All bikers and hot-rods are welcome as long as the driver brings a new toy. Santa will be riding a Harley Davidson in the event, which benefits the Salvation Army’s programs for families in need. At Finnegan’s wake, there will be a free buffet lunch.

Ada and Darrel Ewing from Gypsum are Harley Davidson enthusiasts who started the event 12 years ago.

“We took part in other toy runs in Grand Junction, and thought it would be fun to start one in our own community,” Ada said.

Ada, a human resources manager for Wal-Mart, and Darrel, who drives a truck for LaFarge, run the event with their daughter, April, and her friend, Trish Barton. The number of participants has increased over the last four years.

Last year, about 70 motorcycles took part.

“This year we are trying to get more hot rod, show cars ” any car that people are proud of,” Barton said.

Barton, of Gypsum, will ride her Harley Davidson, a 2005 Road King. She grew up on dirt bikes with her family in Alamosa, Colorado.

“In 2000 we got the bug motorbike bug,” she said. That’s when she and her husband bought Harley Davidsons.

Some of their favorite rides are Independence Pass, which they take up to Leadville, past Twin Lakes and finish in Aspen. They also like to ride from Wolcott to Steamboat Springs.

Last year, a truckful of toys and about $1,000 was collected at the toy run for the Salvation Army.

The toys and cash donations help the Salvation Army provide families in need with food baskets on Thanksgiving and food and gifts on Christmas. One of the programs that benefits from the event is the Adopt-a-Family program, where volunteers can donate their time or money to a specific family.

During the current economic crisis the Salvation army in Avon has seen the calls for help dramatically increase. In 2007, there were 716 cases for regular emergency assistance, approximately 60 cases a month. However in August this year alone there were 104 cases and 101 in September.

The increases is due to people being laid off or their hours of work being cut back. Some calls for help were from construction workers who’s projects had been canceled.

One local man helped by the Salvation Army is Stan, who preferred his last name not be used. He said he contacted the charity for help paying his electricity bill. He has worked in security for the Vail Valley for the past 23 years and has been out of work for the past two and a half months, due to a drop in off-season businesses.

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