CHOC Cruise 2014
A celebration of life 15 years strong
Shows can be a great time to cruise the truck, chill with friends, and relax the day away. For a lucky few, there is actually the chance to bring home a trophy at the end of the day. For everyone else, it’s an incentive to put the truck back together and get inspired by those show-worthy trucks. When it comes down to it, show days can easily become a mostly “me” thing—my truck, my friends, my day off from work. There is a pile of memories to take home, and it’s a great thing. Could there be anything better? Probably not…unless you’ve participated in a toy drive like the CHOC Christmas Cruise.
Now in its 15th consecutive year, Playtime Foundation’s CHOC Cruise is a special event held in Southern California each December during which custom cars and trucks gather for several hours at Angel Stadium of Anaheim (where the Angels professional baseball team plays), then cruise a few miles to a local hospital called the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) to deliver toys. The kids can check out the cool cars and trucks (and even hit switches) as each vehicle rolls through the hospital’s front entrance to hand off toys to helpers. Some trucks deliver bag after bag of toys—even bedfuls! It’s technically not a show, so there are no winners or losers. Rather than a crisp $50 bill, all that’s required to enter is a toy and a little bit of time.
It’s about the kids, and it’s for the kids—and that’s what makes it such a meaningful event. Even the pre-cruise toy shopping spree can become an unexpectedly joyful part of the experience, because who wouldn’t want to give anything but the coolest toys? The cruise itself is somewhat novel, as most car shows are parking lot bound and you don’t get to do anything or go anywhere. On top of that, to cruise for a purpose is just amazing and actually important, because it exposes you to a different world: the hospital world where kids are—but don’t belong. No child deserves to be sick or troubled by health problems. It’s just wrong. It’s not right for any family to have to go through something like that. It’s a humbling visit (a single, voluntary visit), and a gentle reminder to get your priorities straight. A busted headlight isn’t so bad, after all. Plus, if your truck and toy can brighten a kid’s day for just a few moments, then what could be better?
Events like the CHOC Cruise don’t magically happen on their own. There are many people working really hard in the background to pull off such charitable events that benefit both the givers and receivers. The main guy behind the CHOC Cruise, Tony Ramos, created the Playtime Foundation to help CHOC through holding car-related benefit events, an idea stemming from some motorcycle toy drives. As all good ideas do not come to fruition through the efforts of one person, the support of CHOC, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, and many clubs and individuals have caused what started small to grow up to 800 vehicles on good years. Year after year, those who put on events like the CHOC Cruise only ask two things: please come (and behave) and please give, all for the sake of children. If you ever have the chance to use your custom HD truck for good, definitely do.