Family carries on Santa Claus motorcycle ride

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

Some of Santa’s helpers were on the move Saturday in York City, spreading holiday joy. Instead of reindeer power, though, these Christmas elves had harnessed horsepower and tooled around town on their motorcycles. 

The group gave away toys and stocking stuffers to area children — and also paid homage to Ted Kauffman Sr., who for 13 years donned the Santa’s red suit to brighten the season for many youngsters from the back of a bike. 

He died in 2021, but a number of motorcyclists made the ride Saturday to continue what he started. 

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“It just made him happy to see someone else smile,” said Bill Kauffman, one of the elder Kauffman's sons.

Bill and his brother, Ted Kauffman Jr., were among the riders who wanted to carry on the tradition. The group was scheduled to make a couple of stops on their trek before visiting their father's final resting place. 

Bill Kauffman, who made the ride every year with his father, couldn’t even hazard a guess as to the number of toys his father gave away over the years. He said his father would ride his three-wheel motorcycle, pulling a trailer full of stuffed animals and toys as he traveled about giving away goodies. 

“Those were good times, but it ain’t the same without him,” Bill Kauffman said. “He always loved it, so we’ve got to keep it going.” 

Ted Kauffman Jr. never missed a ride with his father, either. The cheer they have spread in their Santa gear on the back of their bikes have made for some good times, he said. 

Bill Kauffman and Tina Lucabaugh, from East York, riding into the Walmart parking lot during the Santa Claus motorcycle ride and gift give-out throughout York County on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022. 

First stop was the Walmart at Town Center Drive before heading to Morning Sun Marketplace in Thomasville.

“Everybody’s waving to you,” Ted Kauffman Jr. said. “It puts a smile on people’s faces is what I remember about it. Everybody’s really happy at a happy time of year. That’s what I like about it.” 

Chris Markle was making his first ride with the group. He just wanted do something for kids during this time of giving. 

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“It’s for the kids. Kids will enjoy it,” Markle said. “(Ted Kauffman Jr.) said they love to see us come through town, wave and carry on and get everyone in the Christmas spirit.” 

Ted Kauffman Sr.’s granddaughter, Danielle Staggers, organized the ride this year. Staggers decided keep the tradition going because she knew it would have meant a lot to her grandfather. 

Danielle Staggers is shown with stuffed Disney toys and a shirt, now made into a pillow, that once belonged to her late grandfather Ted Kauffman, at her home in Manchester Township, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022. Staggers has organized a Santa Claus ride to honor Kauffman, who hosted the event for many years. Kauffman died in July of 2021, and after finding his ride book, Staggers decided to “take charge” and organize a ride this year. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“The community just loves it,” she said. “They were so excited to see these Santa Clauses and get toys from these Santa Clauses. I think he made difference in York County. I just want to keep on with his tradition.”