Kickstands will go up on Saturday, Nov. 12 as the Big Bird Toy Run once again gets underway to raise proceeds that will benefit Christmas Cheer.
Ricky “Big Bird” Holcomb started the ride 30 years ago, and it has been helping many children feel the holiday spirit ever since. Holcomb passed away in February of 2021, but his legacy lives on in the ride.
Chad Hall, of BTW21, took on the ride four years ago after Holcomb’s health began to decline. Hall said the ride is always a success, with something to offer for just about everyone.
“This will be our 30th annual and normally we have a wonderful turn out. We always have different sponsors that do door prizes, 50/50,” he said.
In addition to motorcycles, Hall said vehicles of all types are welcome.
“Cars are welcome. We do call it the Big Bird 30th Annual Biker Ride, but we have classic cars as well, and we invite all the classic car guys that would like to come,” he said.
Admission is $10 or an unwrapped toy, but Hall said many participants donate both. Participants also enjoy a free meal, live music, and an onsite auction.
“For 10 bucks, you get to ride in a great event. You get to get a free meal, hear some great music, and participate in some auction, 50/50, and all the proceeds go to Christmas Cheer,” Hall said.
Participation in the ride itself isn’t even mandatory. Those wishing to participate in the festivities can register at Sportlanes for the same cost.
“Even if you don’t ride the ride, you can still register, come in, enjoy the show, and still get a meal,” Hall said.
The ride begins at Bird’s Cycle Shop, located at 6537 Greensboro Road, Ridgeway. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and ends around 12:30 p.m., with kickstands up at 1 p.m.
“The ride always leaves from Big Bird’s shop in Ridgeway. We leave there, we go all the way through the City of Martinsville, go through the bridge at the Hardees (on Bridge Street), do a full loop through the city and go back down Commonwealth,” Hall said.
“We take a right at the big intersection at Walmart, ride all the way through town and we go all the way to Bassett, across the bridge at Bassett where the old middle school is. We hang a left, come all the way back, and normally hit (U.S.) 220 and come right back through the middle of Collinsville.”
The ride then ends at Sportlanes, where the auction, live music, and meal are held.
Though this is the typical route, changes may be made to make the ride safer for bikers, depending on the number of motorcycles involved. The rain date is Dec. 10, which coincides with the Bassett Christmas Parade.
Annual proceeds range from $5,000 to nearly $20,000, Hall said, and estimated that last year’s ride raised $8,000.
“What I love about it, it all stays local. It’s always Henry County, and I feel like that’s probably one of the reasons that Bird really kept pushing this ride. The money does stay local and that means a lot,” he said.
Donations, in the form of currency, unwrapped toys, and auction items, also may be made without attending the event.
“Anybody that wants to be a sponsor or participate,” Hall said. “All they have to do is give me a call. We would love if somebody else wanted to make donations, everything’s tax deductible.”
For questions or to donate, call Hall at (276) 647-9289.