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Canajoharie, NY ,

Joshua Thomas
Bikes of all shapes and sizes line Little Mohawk St. Saturday prior to the 19th annual fundraising run.

Joshua Thomas
Ava Guyer, Jeremy Blair and Belinda Mott watch bikers arrive from the upper balcony of Jim's Irish Harbour Saturday morning.

Joshua Thomas
Fundraising run participants converse prior to departing Jim's Irish Harbour Saturday.

Joshua Thomas
This year's fundraising run drew 50-60 more participants than last year's event.


Fundraising run brings in money and toys for Fort Plain flood victims

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - Updated: 9:44 AM


C-S-E Editor

CANAJOHARIE - On Saturday morning, pristine rows of gleaming motorcycles, some in eye-catching colors, some with sidecars, and others adorned with unique items for personalization, lined Little Mohawk St., Canajoharie, for the 19th annual fundraising ride, which brought in money and toys for Fort Plain flood victims.

The riders converged upon Jim's Irish Harbour, as owner, Jim Blair, organizes the annual event, with input from the Canajoharie Fire Department, a sponsoring organization, and individuals who volunteer their time simply because they have a passion for helping others.

"This is not one person doing this," pointed out Blair, continuing, "It's a whole team of people. We're just a bunch of normal, working-day people who like to ride bikes and help people in need." 

While the fundraising event has been going on for 19 years, growing each year -- in the past few gaining as many as 50 or 60 riders annually -- it also became a toy drive five years ago.

In the past, the ride has earned money for Schoharie flood victims and the H.C. Smith Benefit Club, along with other in-need organizations.

Each year, Blair plans the route the riders take months in advance, then meeting them at the last stop and riding back to Canajoharie from there. This year's route saw the riders departing down Route 5, stopping in Gilboa, East Durham and Schoharie. 

The ride ended back at Jim's Irish Harbour in the early evening, where the participants had a buffet style dinner,  including chicken and biscuits, roast beef, roast ham, baked ziti and shepherd's pie, prepared by Blair's mother, Mary.

All donations, including the toys piled high on a bar pool table, also filling the back room of Jim's Irish Harbour, will be donated to Fort Plain flood victims. 

Prior to taking off Saturday, Fort Plain's Mayor Guy Barton issued sincere words of thanks to the toy run participants, speaking with them personally, and announcing during a speech that their actions are greatly appreciated.

"I think it's a wonderful gesture," said Barton, noting that he enjoyed getting to know some of the participants prior to the event. He also commented of Jim's Irish Harbour, not part of Fort Plain, but part of the western Montgomery County collective of communities he calls home, "I'm so happy to have them as part of our community."

In the near future, the Canajoharie Fire Department will load up one of their trucks and deliver the donations to Fort Plain.

Aside from raising funds for the less fortunate, the ride was held in memory of numerous local individuals, including: Jack Blair, Raymond D. Hart, Justin D. Snell, Cindy Wall, Gregory G. Conrad, Jeff H. Hunt, Donna Buley, Dustin K. Watson, Chuck Miles and Ethel Healey.

Joshua Thomas - Fort Plain's Mayor Guy Barton (bottom, right) thanks fundraising ride participants for their donations to Fort Plain flood victims Saturday morning.

Joshua Thomas - Fundraising run participants converse prior to departing Jim's Irish Harbour Saturday.

Joshua Thomas - A Jim's Irish Harbour emblazoned Mack truck led the parade of motorcyclists participating in Saturday's ride.

Joshua Thomas - Riders depart Jim's Irish Harbour down Route 5 in Canajoharie Saturday.

Joshua Thomas - Each ride participant brought one toy, which will be donated to Fort Plain flood victims.


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