Rich “Cosmo” Oldenburg is gearing up for the eighth installment of his annual toy run that brings bikers and the community together to try to make differences in children’s lives through new toys as gifts for Christmas.
The toys were originally not guaranteed to make their way to children in Payne County, but that’s changing this year.
“I’ve actually met some children that were recipients and we helped make their Christmas happen – that was pretty amazing,” Oldenburg said. “For starters, I don’t know if last year was there or not, but all the toys will stay in Payne County. They’re going to Lions Meadows of Hope in Perkins.”
The toy run begins at noon Nov. 11 at the Forman Harley-Davidson dealership at 3512 S. Boomer Rd. There, bikers, road enthusiasts and anyone wanting to help out by bringing a new, unwrapped toy, can meet for free lunch from Cherokee Strip BBQ before parade staging begins at 1:45 p.m. At 2, the Payne County Sheriff’s Office will reprise its role of escorting the bikes and vehicles to Lost Creek United Methodist Church at 8002 S. Washington St., where toys will be dropped off and a reception will follow. Anyone who can’t make it Nov. 11 can drop off toys at Forman Harley-Davidson to be later distributed.
Oldenburg said he hopes to get more toys donated than the 60-70 that were donated in 2016 – he also hopes for better weather, which could lead to better turnout for the charitable event.
“It’s always dictated by Bedlam, and it’s always the Saturday before or after Bedlam,” Oldenburg said. “Never thought we’d make it to eight years. This year, I won’t be riding – I’m having my knee replaced on Oct. 30, so I’ll be there. Shawn Kurena and Derick Watkins, two of my buddies, will lead it for me. But to look back when we started this, we only had seven bikes show up. It always fluctuates, the weather always plays a factor on this. With Bedlam being pushed up, it pushed the toy run. We hope that we’ll have real good weather because of that.”
The recipient of the toys, Lions Meadows of Hope, was originally known as Oklahoma Lions Boys Ranch and is now a licensed foster care community providing family homes for sibling groups and boys and girls of all ages. Oldenburg said the event has brought with it a strong sense of community that has paid off in the children benefiting from the toy drive.
“The person who makes my flyer has been dealing with colon cancer for about a year and a half now, she just recently got back in to Oklahoma and made it – her name is Lisa Renfrow,” Oldenburg said. “Cherokee Strip has catered it every single year, and what’s really nice – I don’t take nothing for granted, I talk with everyone to make sure, ‘Hey, you still on board with this? Do you still want to be a part of this?’ And this time around, he told me just to count him in and not bother with that. I thought that was a pretty cool deal.”