The Wichita Toy Run finds a new way to deliver Christmas toys to children in need.
"The biggest issue on that was the safety factor," said George Schaeffer, who's been helping out with the Toy Run since it began.
With more than 3,000 bikers in the parade last year growing safety concerns led to a change in format for the annual event. This year, instead of a parade from downtown to the Kansas Coliseum bikers rallied in the historic Delano District to make their donations to Toys for Tots. The Toy Run usually is responsible for about 40%t of the program's total.
"From the first year, from about 15 to 20 motorcycles to this," Schaeffer said, indicating the crowd around him, "There's lot of big changes."
This year's change could be one of the biggest. The 'run' part of the Toy Run is gone. Instead it's a rally in the Delano District. The change was the result of several concerns.
"The safety factor was the main concern 'cause we don't want our riders hurt or any bystanders hurt or anything, like that," Schaeffer said.
Last year's Toy Run ended with two injury crashes and reports of a small number of riders drinking before the event. Add that to the growing size of the Toy Run and police and organizers decided it was time for a change.
"A lot of people excited about it and they enjoy us going down Broadway," said Schaeffer about the traditional Toy Run "And this year, you know, we're doing a different route this year."
Some were upset about the announced changes. But that didn't stop a big crowd from showing up for the 2012 Toy Run. George Schaeffer says it's important to remember who the Toy Run is really for.
"It's for the kids, you know? That's what it's for."
And he hopes the event will continue to change.
"Probably get more people, may have to get a bigger area, too. You never know, you know?" Schaeffer said. "'Cause we've grown so much over the years. We'll just have to wait and see how this year goes and then start for next year."
This year's Toy Run was officially dedicated to the memory of Holly Potelle. She was the event's long-time coordinator. Potelle died last summer when extreme wind tossed her from her bike.