Run for the kidsDespite fall colors creeping into Douglas County, the Burger family of Superior has their sights set on Christmas. They are planning the third annual Toys for Tots Bike Ride, which starts Oct. 6 at the Checkerboard Bar in South Range.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Despite fall colors creeping into Douglas County, the Burger family of Superior has their sights set on Christmas. They are planning the third annual Toys for Tots Bike Ride, which starts Oct. 6 at the Checkerboard Bar in South Range.
“It’s all about the kids in the community who would have no Christmas” without Toys for Tots, said Craig Burger, 35, one of the ride’s founders.
“Because some of these kids wouldn’t get anything,” said his mother, Darlene.
Toys for Tots provides about 1,200 children with toys each year, according to Superior Fire Department organizer, Les Luder. He said the program goes beyond Superior to include all of Douglas County.
And fundraisers like the bike ride, “they’re everything,” to Toys for Tots, Luder said.
For Craig Burger, the ride is about the kids. He also enjoys the social aspect, with stops at the Other Place in Iron River, Soft Pines Resort in Solon Springs, Buck-N-Bass in Barnes and Corbin’s on Amnicon Lake before returning to the Checkerboard.
“I don’t drink,” he said. “I don’t party anymore.” But he likes to ride. He always had, his mother said.
“He built his first bike in his bedroom,” she said.
The first Toys for Tots Bike Ride started with a crash. While driving ahead of about 60 riders, Burger’s younger brother, Ski, took a corner on Highway E too fast and hit the guardrail.
“I broke my elbow in five pieces plus dislocated it,” he said. He said he also broke his hand completely off my wrist, which cost him three inches of bone on the side of the road and severed an artery.
As the riders came up to him, he told them to continue the run.
“There was nothing anyone could do so why stop the run?” Ski Burger said. “Finish it off for the kids.”
An ambulance took him to the nearby wayside and taken by helicopter to St. Mary’s Hospital.
“It put a damper on things,” Craig Burger said. “A lot of people veered off and went home.” The rest finished.
Last year, the ride was held again, and the number of riders rose to 120. Ski Burger wasn’t one of them. He spent six months in a wheelchair and was in and out of the hospital for about a year following the accident.
“I just started riding this year,” he said. And he’s hoping to take part in the event Saturday.
“They’re just people riding motorcycles,” Darlene Burger said. “They can do good things if people allow them to.”
The route of the event has changed from year to year to include various towns and businesses in Douglas County.
“It helps the community all around,” Craig Burger said. “It helps the businesses; it helps the kids. So it kind of helps to change it up.”
This year’s ride will be about 120 miles and bring the group past plenty of fall-painted trees. The ride will end at the Checkerboard with food, live music, silent auctions and a 50/50 drawing with prizes ranging from tattoos and a stay at the Baywalk Inn to gift certificates and a pair of wooden clogs.
Admission to the ride is $15, or $10 with the donation of a new, unwrapped toy. A toy donation also nets the giver a chance to win special raffle prizes. The ride leaves at noon from the Checkerboard Bar, 3957 S. County Road E.
All proceeds go to support Toys for Tots. More information is available on Facebook under toysfortotsbikerun or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Prizes are sought for the event and toy donations are accepted prior to the run.
To donate a toy or prize, call 715-718-1735.