PADUCAH, KY- A group of motorcyclists were forced to break tradition and take a shorter route for their annual Bikers Toy Run for kids. Organizers say the city of Paducah did not assist with a police escort, so they had to reach out to the McCracken County Sheriff’s Office.
It’s an event that has been around Paducah for 35 years.
“Children have got to have a Christmas. They got to know that someone cares for them, that somebody out here cares what happens to them. That’s the only reason we do this,” Donald Allbritten says.
Allbritten organizes the toy run and says this year’s run was different. It was shorter than previous years, mainly because of logistical issues with the city.
“Who’s going to sell you $1 million worth of insurance? I didn’t see how they even thought I could even possibly do that, and maybe they didn’t think I could. And maybe that was the point,” Allbritten says.
In previous years, bikers would come to Noble Park after going out and gathering toys for kids. This year, they couldn’t do that because organizers say the city required a $2 million insurance policy.
City Manager Jim Arndt says the insurance is always required when there is an organized event in the city involving more than 25 participants.
“Some of the changes we made kind of had an impact upon the children in the community with them not going in through Noble Park, which I was unaware of that change as well. So, we’re trying to dig into that, like I says, and see why that happened, how that happened, and what we can do to prevent that from happening in the future,” Arndt says.
Allbritten says they’re going to continue their mission no matter what, and he is looking forward to next year.
“Bigger and better. Raise more money, get more toys, do more for the kids,” Allbritten says.
Allbritten says 500 motorcyclists participated in this year’s event — raising more than $20,000 and collecting enough toys to fill the back of a wrecker.
Arndt says he will meet with the assistant city manager, mayor, chief of police, and parks director to look more into this year’s event and what can be done to better assist the group next year.
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