LYON COUNTY — Twenty-five years later, the Toys 4 Tots Motorcycle Fun Run is still bringing people together.
“Here they come,” one person yelled out.
As the motorcycles roared past on Lyon County Road 9 on Saturday morning, everyone waved.
The fun run has built up a loyal following over the years. There are motorcyclists who come back year after year, whether it’s for the good cause or the fun of the ride. But there are regular spectators, too — and they’re just as enthusiastic.
About half an hour before the Toys 4 Tots Run was due to start Saturday, a tractor stopped south of the intersection of Lyon County Road 9 and Minnesota Highway 19. The tractor was towing a trailer decked out with picnic tables and awnings. Once it pulled over by the Rolling Hills Wildlife Management Area, members of the Kesteloot family settled in to watch and wait.
They could hear the bikes a little before they saw headlights come into view.
The Kesteloots said they’ve been coming out to watch the Toys 4 Tots Run for years now, although “not always at this extent,” Dale Kesteloot said. Over time, it’s become more of an event for them, as part of an annual family gathering weekend.
“It’s fun, watching (the riders) all go by.”
Last year, Toys 4 Tots organizers recognized the Kesteloots with a traveling trophy for spectators of the motorcycle run. It was in a place of honor on the trailer Saturday.
“We thought it was gonna be like a little trophy, to put on a shelf,” Dale Kesteloot said. It turned out to be pretty good-sized, made out of motorcycle parts welded together.
The chance to get together, and to help a cause, was a big part of the fun for participants in the Toys 4 Tots Run, too.
“I like where the money goes. It helps kids,” said rider Jim Skarl.
This year, proceeds and toy donations from the motorcycle…