28th Annual High Country Toy Run is cancelled

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — What would have been the 28th Annual High Country Toy Run is no longer happening.

The Toy Run is a charity ride that benefits Toys for Tots, Santa’s Workshop at Fort Carson and several El Paso and Teller County schools and churches. For the past 27 years hundreds of motorcycles have ridden through Colorado Springs led by a police escort but this year it has been cancelled.

Concerns for the Toy Run’s future sparked last June when the city’s Department of Special Events began making changes to the process, declaring the Toy Run a city-wide special event which requires fees, financial statements, presentations and a 17 page application.

“It was a little more work for us in 2013 and it was a little more in 2014 and now this year with the changes that they’ve instituted more we were looking at really being pressed on the amount of effort we can put into making the Toy Run happen,” said Jim Wear, Founder and Organizer of the Annual High Country Toy Run.

The price of hiring a police escort has also gotten higher.

“In 2009 the cost was about $400. It’s steadily risen. The total cost for the police escort is $3000,” Wear said.

Had they gone through the special event process, the cost of the escort would’ve been cut in half.

“It was our hopes that the city of Colorado Springs would be willing to at least discuss with us or negotiate being able to move the toy run back into a status that would not require all of the same paperwork as a large special event like the Balloon Classic or Territory Days,” Wear said.

Wear also said the Department of Special Events suggested that they go ahead with the Toy Run without an escort from police.

“Taking a thousand motorcycles and putting them onto the streets and flooding them into downtown Colorado Springs either in groups or all at once, is not a good idea,” Wear said. “We had real safety concerns.”

Now hundreds of children who would’ve received those toys, will not.

“I would say out of the normal 3,000 kids that we service out of a Toy Run, at least half of them aren’t going to get taken care of this time, maybe more. We really feel like charity functions should serve those in need of charity and not serve city government,” Wear said.

Wear said they will continue to support the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots however they can. FOX21 reached out to the city for a comment but have not yet heard back.

 

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