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‘Sons of Anarchy’ cast rides for military

Actors among crowd at event to benefit servicemen returning from combat

Posted: August 27, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 27, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Anthony Munoz, 23, right, gets an autograph from actor Charlie Hunnam, left, of "Sons of Anarchy" at The Boot Ride on Sunday in Canyon Country.

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 With a roar and rumble, more than 250 bikers steered their hogs into a Canyon Country parking lot Sunday as part of Boot Ride 2012 — a charity drive to raise money for troops returning home from combat duty overseas.

There to meet them in the lot outside Route 66 Classic Grill restaurant on Soledad Canyon Road were celebrities from the popular television show “Sons of Anarchy,” including the show’s actor Kim Coates.
“‘Sons of Anarchy’ is obviously a very big supporter of our troops,” Coates told The Signal. “We met (Boot Girl) Sherri four years ago and she told us about the boot drive. Every year it gets bigger and better.

“A lot of times when troops come, they’re not thought about and we need to change that way of thinking,” he said.

Coates and “Sons of Anarchy” co-star Ron Perlman signed helmets, books and the occasional woman’s chest as a live band played behind them and while hot food and cold beer were being served nearby.

More than 60 biker passengers arrived with some of the bikers — most sporting patch “colors” from biker clubs across America and Canada.

Five bikers from Ottawa, Ontario, in Canada flew into Las Vegas, rented some Harley-Davidson bikes and drove through Death Valley on their way to Canyon Country.

“We learned about the (boot) campaign through ‘Sons of Anarchy,’” said Terrill LeClair, of Ottawa. “So. the five of us flew to Vegas just for this.

“We booked our holiday around this event,” he said. “It’s phenomenal; it’s a fantastic cause.”

The Boot Campaign began as a grassroots initiative started by five “Boot Girl” women from Texas.

Their idea, according to their website, was to provide “an easy and tangible way for Americans to show appreciation for troops, both past and present, cultivate awareness of the challenges they face upon return and raise funds which are granted to military programs meeting these physical and emotional needs.”

Their efforts have grown and earned the respect of the troops they intended to help.

Danny Coggins, a 25-year veteran with the Air Force, drove from Riverside with his girlfriend Ashley Decker, also an Air Force veteran, with 24 years service, to be a part of Sunday’s fund drive.

“We’re both retired military, and we’re here to support our troops,” Coggins said under the event’s big top tent.

“There are thousands of men and women out there,” he said. “They appreciate things over there that we take for granted here.”

Once the speeches were over and after a moving poetry reading of the American anthem by biker New York Mike, bikers moved out of the parking lot en masse and traveled to Hollywood for the second and final stage of the charity drive.

“It is our mission to find the best programs available today for relevant issues through a short list of partner charities,” the Boot Girls post on their website.

“When we sell our signature combat boots, we generate necessary funds to grant to military programs doing great work with our military and giving them hope for a future as they transition home.”

jholt@the-signal.com

661-287-5527

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