Bikers, cartoon truck 'get 'er done' for Marysville Boys and Girls Club

MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Boys and Girls Club got a boost from a pair of fundraisers on wheels April 10.

Jack Walkley brought his life-size replica of Tow Mater, the talking tow truck from the animated movie "Cars," while more than 50 members of the North Snohomish County Chapter of American Bikers Aimed Toward Education made their final pit-stop at the Marysville Boys and Girls Club, as part of the ABATE "poker run" to benefit the local Boys and Girls Club.

Walkley spent two and a half years putting together Tow Mater, and now, with the permission of Disney and Pixar, he takes photos of people with the truck, with all proceeds from the photos going to charities. On April 17, the Marysville Boys and Girls Club benefitted from Tow Mater's fundraising photos.

"The kids go crazy for it," said Walkley, who learned about the popularity "Cars" from the reactions of children to photos of Tow Mater, before he'd ever seen the movie or heard of the character. "It draws more attention than I ever could have believed. It's amazing."

Bonnie Ramsey, unit director for the Marysville Boys and Girls Club, noted that the kids at the club had already made their own cars out of cardboard boxes to watch a "drive-in" showing of the movie. She added that the poker run, which included a silent auction at the Boys and Girls Club, raised a total of $2,165.

Kevin Larson, coordinator for the North Snohomish County Chapter of ABATE, explained that he already knew Ramsey and thought that appearing at her Boys and Girls Club alongside Tow Mater sounded like fun.

"We're always looking for local charities to help out," Larson said. "We're a community-oriented group, and the Boys and Girls Club is great for kids. All walks of life are welcome."

Marysville's Val and Nancy Wilds rode into the Boys and Girls Club together, on his bike, and praised both the day's beautiful weather and the poker run's charitable cause.

"It feels good to do your part," said Val, who estimated that he and his wife go on about five rides for charity each year. "I love the camaraderie of of the event, and the freedom of riding."

Arlington's Brian Sudbury estimates that he takes part in 10-15 such runs a year.

"For years, I drank and did drugs," Sudbury said. "I took away from the community without giving anything back. We're all about giving back."

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