Cossacks bring Christmas cheer to needy children

There were Harleys in place of reindeer, the low-pitched rumble of motorcycles instead of the high-pitched jingle of sleigh bells and with Santa Claus otherwise engaged, Jeremy Klaus donned the famous red suit and became Santa “Klaus.”But make no mistake — Christmas came to a dozen Big Spring families Saturday.For the 21st year, members of the local Cossack Motorcycle Club hopped on their Hogs and spread holiday cheer to needy children and their families as part of their Bikes for Tykes Toy Run.Dozens of riders escorted trucks and a trailer packed to the rim with food and toys, forming a caravan guaranteed to make this an unforgettable Christmas for the families involved.But as special as the day undoubtedly was for the children receiving toys, it was equally so for the club members.“Seeing the kids jumping up and down when we deliver the toys is what I enjoy most about this, — that, and seeing some of these big ol' tough biker tear up in the process.”Young said the toy run began in 1991.“We decided to do something for the community and this is what we came up with,” he said. “That first year, we helped one or two families; this year, we'll deliver gifts and food to 12 families and 36 kids.”Young said preparation for the toy run went on all year. The club distributed applications to area schools and other organizations, received a list of needy families, then set about collecting enough toys and other items to fill the wish list.“All year long, we do benefits and we have sponsors and individuals who donate items, as well,” club member Kenny Bearden said.Each one of the selected families will receive toys for the children and a complete turkey dinner.Young said Saturday's run wasn't the end of the club spreading holiday cheer this season.“Every year, there'll be a family or two that will come to our attention (after the run), and we'll have some extra stuff we'll take to them,” he said. “They're just as needy as everybody else we help. This is all about making sure kids who otherwise wouldn't have a Christmas will.”