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Gallery of the Week: Toys (For Tots) Story

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Proving that the holiday season doesn’t necessarily have to spell the end of the go-fast boating season—at least if you’re willing to bundle up—more than 30 boat owners brought their rides to Palatka, Fla., last weekend for the 15th annual Toys for Tots Fun Run organized and promoted by the ever-dedicated Rus Matos. Friday’s informal lunch run was followed by Saturday’s fun run—with a host of activities between—and cold, rainy weather didn’t dampen anyone’s holiday spirit, least of all that of speedonthewater.com contributor Spring Bailey.

More than a few powerboat owners got to play Santa during last weekend’s Toys for Tots Fun Run in Palatka, Fla. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

“This was the first year the run was held at a new host hotel, Crystal Cove Resort, and it was a hit,” said Bailey, who participated in the run with her husband, TJ, and Bill Pyburn, Sr., on Pyburn’s Hurricane deck boat. “We do this particular run because—like everyone else who comes into town for it—we enjoy giving back for a great cause, Toys for Tots, with just a down-to-earth group of friends and boaters. Rus does this run once a year and it’s always the first weekend in December. It’s free. All you have to bring is a laidback personality and a boat full of toys.

“For those of us who live in the cooler climates, it provides a last chance to make a run for the year,” she continued. “Even in the rain, we all had smiles on our faces because at the end of the day it’s about giving back and helping the kids.”

For a closer look at this weekend’s Toys for Tots Fun Run, check out the slideshow above.

Added TJ Bailey, who traveled with his wife from their home in Belmont, N.C. for the event, “Sometimes it’s sunny and 80 degrees and others it’s 60 degrees and raining. The kids are the reason for this run. We just get to have fun with great friends in the process.”

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