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15th Annual Barbie Hensler Memorial Toy Run

The High Country Chapter of ABATE of AZ wants to thank the many Rim Country business, citizens, and clubs that helped make the 15th Annual Barbie Hensler Memorial Toy Run the most successful drive do-date. With your help, we were able to collect three pickup- trucks full of toys (not including 2 trucks of bicycles), and present the Women of the Moose with a check for $3,500 to help their efforts to make sure that area families have a very Merry Christmas. This year, the Women of the Moose are attempting to make Christmas happen for 234 children from 84 families over a wide area from Tonto Basin to Strawberry to Christopher Creek.

This year's event was once again at the Buffalo Bar & Grill in Payson and was well represented by members of the Old Bastards Motorcycle Club Payson Chapter, the American Legion Riders,the Loose Cannons Motorcycle Club, the Rim Country District of the Modified Motorcycle Association, and of course, the High Country Chapter of ABATE of AZ, among others. In the month leading up to the event, 16 Tonto Basin and Rim Country businesses collected toys and other donations to present the day of the toy run. ABATE thanks those business because without them, this effort would not work.

Special mention goes to to Punkin Center Bar & Grill who filled three huge boxes with toys and raised over $1,100 in cash. Their effort begins in January for the next year and ABATE and the Women of the Moose could not be more grateful. Also deserving special mention is Pine Creek Fudge, (High Country Chapter's latest business member) who also filled their toy collection box three times. It this sort of generosity that makes living in Rim Country the amazing experience it is.

High Country Chapter also wants to thank Sawmill Theaters for running an ad, for free, on every screen of every movie for the last month to help make the community aware of the event. And also to KRIM FM in Payson for acting as DJ and broadcasting the event live on Facebook all day, and then making a generous donation of their own. Organizers were receiving calls from as far away as Puerto Penasco Mexico who were watching the event live.

Starting early Saturday morning, riders went out with pickup trucks in tow to retrieve the toy collection boxes and the many donations that had been collected. Arriving at the Buffalo in time to set-up for the 11 am start time. The party went on until 5 pm with music, food, dancing, 50/50, raffles, door prizes and a silent auction that included a very popular sample basket from the Honey Stand in Pine, a complete "Learn to Play Guitar" starter pack, Fudge and Cinnamon Buns from Pine Creek Fudge, as well as gift certificates from Tonto Silk Screen & Embroidery, Cheaper Sweeper and many others. After some confusion about who actually owned the winning ticket for the 50/50, it was discovered it actually belonged to the bartenders and wait staff of the Buffalo. Upon learning this, the staff promptly donated the entire $293 back to the event!

The event ended when the toys, donations and money raised were all transported to the Women of the Moose at Lodge 852 in Star Valley who have been working diligently to make sure those who are truly in need get some help this Christmas. Cecilia (CCRider) Ransom, the High Country Event Coordinator, expressed her joy at the success of the event by declaring "The success of this year's event was due entirely to the incredible community support provided by the area motorcyclists, businesses, and Tonto Basin and Rim Country citizens that participated. High Country Chapter of ABATE of AZ cannot thank you all enough. Merry Christmas."

We want to thank all the business that helped fill the toy collection boxes: Butcher Hook Restaurant, Punkin Center Bar & Grill, Dollar General in Tonto Basin, Jake's Corner Bar, The buffalo Bar & Grill, El Rancho, Spur Bar, Pour House, Verizon Wireless at Swiss Village, Old County Inn, Pine Creek Fudge, Sidewinders Tavern & Grill, The Ponderosa Market, HB's Place, Bandits Restaurant.