Canyon Lake resident Frank Opp and his son, Trevor, are gearing up for the 20th Annual Santa Claus Ride on December 24 to benefit Orangewood Children’s Home. The Opps invite other motorcycle riders to join them. Registration is not required.
Each participant is asked to donate an unwrapped toy, a gift card, or money. Riders are asked to wear a Santa suit. Passengers should dress up as Mrs. Claus, an elf, a snowman, or in other holiday attire.
“Please no colors, this ride is about the spirit of giving, comradery, Christmas spirit, and local supports,” Frank said. “Please be festive and giving.”
The Santa Claus Ride starts at 7 a.m. at the Huntington Beach Elk’s Lodge, 7711 Talbert Ave., where participants pick up their ride pin and enjoy a breakfast burrito for $10. Extra pins will be available for $5 each.
“Due to COVID, we will be hosting this event in the parking lot under our tent,” Frank said. We will be observing COVID rules. Masks and social distancing are required inside the lodge. In the parking lot, we suggest practicing the same.”
Riders will depart from the Elk’s Lodge at 9:15 a.m. and travel to the Orangewood Children’s Home to deliver the toys. From there, riders will travel to Balboa Island and then to Main Street in Huntington Beach where the ride ends.
When the motorcycles consumed Balboa Island bumper to bumper several years ago, Frank decided to take Balboa Island off the route the following year because he felt it was unfair to the businesses and residents.
When the spectators lined the streets the following year and the Santas failed to show up, the mayor contacted Frank and expressed his disappointment. Frank added Balboa Island back on the route the following year. “They look forward to us returning every year,” Frank said.
At the end of the ride, Frank invites all participants to lunch at Hell’s Kitchen Motorsports Bar and Grill, a restaurant Frank and Trevor purchased in 2017. Hell’s Kitchen is located at 32685 Ortega Hwy., Lake Elsinore.
Riders dressed as Santa will receive 20 percent off their food bill. The Opps are donating 30 percent of the sales to a local children’s organization.
Frank founded the Santa Claus Ride in 2000 when he and some friends thought it would be entertaining to dress up as Santas and ride their motorcycles on Christmas Eve.
Trevor, just three years old at the time, dressed up as an elf and rode with Frank.
Trevor graduated from elf to Santa when he received his driver’s license and Frank gifted him the motorcycle Trevor rode on as a youngster in the first Santa Claus Ride.
“Trevor and childhood friend, Randi Andrade, were the only two kids on our first ever ride,” Frank said. “They both still participate and carry on this tradition every year.”
Six Santas participated in the first ride. Last year, more than 500 individuals participated and three trucks full of toys were collected. “There were enough toys for Christmas and for birthdays throughout the year,” Frank said.
Frank chose Orangewood Children’s Home because the organization is near and dear to his heart. As a former Huntington Beach police officer, Frank would sometimes have to place children in the care of Orangewood Children’s Home.
For more information about the Santa Claus Ride, visit hbsantaclausride.com.
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