For those of who who don't know or aren't familiar with Toy Runs, they are supposed to be about serving the less fortunate children of our community, not about ego, attitude or politics...let me warn you, this is no short rant so be prepared.

Before I begin this little tirade, I need to provide you with some background so that you have some facts and can read between the lines. If you are a a long term member of the rider community, you will know exactly the entirety of my message.  If you aren't a long time member of the rider community or a very savvy new rider some of the subtle and not so subtle nuances of my message may be missed and possibly misinterpreted.

Our Toy Run here in Grande Prairie Alberta used to have it's parade through town and then head out to the town of Wembley. Bikes would line main street, we'd have a burn out competition and the local hotel would put on burgers for a fee. You could have whatever beverage that floated your boat.
We'd generally get to Wembley around 1:45 and by 3:30pm everything was wrapped up.
All of that changed this year.

A bit of History:
Last year about 4 hours after our Toy Run was over a local rider and his passenger who had attended the Toy Run earlier in the day and had stayed behind in Wembley, (I don't know if they stayed at the hotel or went visiting) were coming back in to Grande Prairie at around 7:30 pm, he and his passenger went down and his passenger died the next morning. The rider had allegedly been impaired.  We got notification of the accident while were eating dinner at the ANAVETS Club around 7:45 pm.

Fast forward to this year's toy run.

No more going to Wembley, the Toys for Tots Committee had decided the parade was to stay in town. This decision had been made at the dissemination meeting last year - one week after the run. (This meeting is held after every run so nothing gets forgotten on the what went wrong, what went right list.)

The RCMP put the local toy run committee under intense scrutiny this year.
They had to provide names of all their "Staff", and were made to jump through all kinds of hoops, which they did. They finally got their liquor license, 50/50 draw license and parade permit and had complied with every request made of the group.

Yesterday, as we riders began to gather at Muskoseepi Park, we had the great displeasure of meeting the two RCMP officers who are riding police motorcycles now in Grande Prairie. Their first order of business before they arrived at the toy run was to have a radar trap out - fair enough, they were doing their job and taking advantage of the opportunity that they knew visitors on bikes would offer.

Their next order of business when they arrived, after seeing the president of the Toys for Tots Committee and checking out the parade permit and insurance, was to walk through all of the bikes at Muskoseepi Park. They were looking for bikes that weren't up to par. I was talking to some people close to a custom chopper when the officers came across the bike. They thought the one gent who was admiring the bike was it's owner and demanded to see the signal lights operate. Their request was very authoritative, no pleasant tones of voice used here. The gent said sorry, it's not my bike - it took him some effort to convince the officers it wasn't his bike.

After their walk through, they left.
They did not ride in the parade. We are unsure as to what happened to them. Did they get a call and have to go? No one knows.

The parade route was lined with well wishers this year and with RCMP Officers in squad cars and suburban type vehicles. They weren't blocking traffic for us.

Our fire trucks this year were donated by Trojan Oilfield Safety from Clairmont. The first truck clears the intersection with sirens and lights. We had the CMC along with Toys for Tots members doing the intersection blocking and behind the last rider follows a second fire truck that closes the parade.

Well, according to the man who donated the trucks, one young RCMP officer wanted to ticket Trojan for not having a copy of the parade permit in their trucks. He was going to give the man 2 - $2,000 tickets. The fire trucks are not required to have a copy of the permit under the law - at least that is the general understanding that the Toys for Tots president has. Apparently tickets were not issued.

One of the fire truck operators wife apparently works at the local detachment. She was reportedly/allegedly threatened by this same young officer with her job. Why? For being associated with a 1%er club.

One member of a 1%er club attended our run this year. Apparently, from what I was able to gather, this offended the young officer. I have not, as of yet, spoken to the officer and so I only know one side of the conversation.

I truly believe in the old adage that charity begins at home, but here in Grande Prairie as with most cities or towns that have a chapter of a 1%er club or members of a 1%er club that live in the town/city - the RCMP don't seem to believe that. The minute a member of a 1%er club attends a public charity motorcycle function with their patch on, everyone around them is labeled as an associate. It matters not that most of the local riders don't even know the name of the man that wears that patch, who he is or where he comes from. It only matters that we riders "allow" that person to wear their patch in our midst.

Then we had one rider who for whatever reason, decided it was a wise and prudent thing to wheelie his cruiser style bike, with his gal on the back, in parade formation and then he decided it was necessary to do a burn out on the street at the top of the driveway into the Army Navy Air Force Veterans Club. Way to go dude. He apparently ended up with a $400 ticket for his efforts.

Remember my tirade over the self-centeredness of the riders in Hinton two weeks ago who thought they really needed to have a beer in the parking lot, in front of kids and non riders before the Toy Run? Remember how I said these people were going to ruin it for the Foothills Road Riders Association....well, this man did his best to ruin it for Toys for Tots here in GP.

When people are that self centered they destroy and ruin the good things for everyone.

I know that you have the right to be as thoughtless and careless of others rights and safety as you choose to be.
I know you have the right to be as loud and obnoxious as you want.

This is Canada and you have rights - I get that.

But get this: When you exercise your rights and in doing so infringe on the rights of others you get to pay the price. It's just too bad that so do the REST OF US.

If you had any clue as to what it takes to host and event, if you knew the real way motorcycle charity committees and event coordinators are treated by members of the constabulary - you might actually dummy up and either stay at home and not ruin it for the rest of us or act like a civilized human being if you decide to participate.

If you were really there to serve the charity, the cause - to pay it forward, to do some good - you would NOT act like an attention seeking moron.

You wouldn't jeopardize the event. You wouldn't hurt the kids you are supposed to be there to help.

Am I disgusted with the behaviour of the local RCMP - YES. I resent them tarring everyone of us with the brush of 1% er. I am tired of their caustic cold way of talking to and dealing with people. I am tired of the politics that ensue. But how the hell can you blame them?

They have a job to do and we unfortunately have people in our community that just have to push authority and buck the system every chance they get, regardless of the carnage they leave behind. The constabulary have to protect the stupid people from themselves plus protect the rest of us from the stupid people.

Be very clear on this.
I AM SO FREAKING TIRED of the Wanna Be's. The attention seekers, the rude, thoughtless asses who have to ruin every good thing because they feel it is their right.

I think that part of that $400 ticket buddy got should involve community service work and he should have to work for the charity whose event he has jeopardized. Our Toys for Tots committee is short of volunteers.

That's what I think and while my out spoken opinion may not be appreciated by a few people, I am quite sure that every event coordinator who has ever worn a pair of riding boots will concur - that they would appreciate teaching a self centered person all about the consequences their actions have for everyone else. Let this person deal with the RCMP, the city, the ALGC (Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission).
Let this person deal with the people who act like they have and see how long it takes before they get an education on cause and effect.

I also think that a Toy Run should be politics free. We are here to serve the children of our region - period!

If more people understood the consequences, the intense scrutiny - the perpetuation of this image the constabulary have of riders...what a wonderful world this could be.

To those who came out to our 30th Annual Toy Run with the thought and intent of actually supporting the less fortunate kids of our region - thank you for your generosity, your support of the children of the Peace Region is deeply appreciated. To all of the sponsors, vendors and riders who braved the cold weather and high winds. Thank you.

To those who supported Larry Debolt, Kevin Larsen, Hoppy and myself as we lost our hair in support of both Toys for Tots and Cancer (we donated our hair for wigs) - thank you.

Because of you, this year the lives of the less fortunate children of our community will be impacted in a good and meaningful way.

To those of you who forgot what Toys for Tots is all about, who forgot about the kids you were here to serve - to you who decided to further your political agendas and enhance your personal vanities and self image in a negative way - do the rest of us a favor and stay home next year.

The pittance you bring to the event by way of donation is not worth the cost to the Toys for Tots committee, the riders who truly come to pay it forward or the kids of our community we are supposed to be serving.

I will now step off my soap box.

I would love your opinion on my rant today.
I want to know if I am the only one who feels this way or if our community has any other thoughts they care to add to this rant.

If you are lucky enough to be riding today, please ride like everyone around you is blind and can not see you and use your head for something besides a helmet rack.

Belt Drive Betty
National VP - AIM-Can
Alliance for Injured Motorcyclists

Post a Comment

  1. Anonymous9:29 AM

    Well said. The world is full of inconsiderate people who are self centered and care not what the results of thier actions do to others.
    I am sorry that I was not at the run on Saturday but I did not want my presence to negetively impact the event.
    Mark D.

  2. Definately very well said! There is no need of any of that at any time especially at an event such as this.
    Awesome Blog by the way.

  3. the other thing I've noticed is that these thoughtless putz's seem to think they'll be harder to conquer when they travel in herds.

    thing of it is...we can't let one or two putz's ruin or put a pall on all our hard work making our community a living thriving entity...cos in the end...there's way way more of us with kind and caring hearts than them I'm sure!