Highway 98 Country radio’s Bo Reynolds took to the sky at Uptown Station on Friday morning to help ensure local children have something special waiting for them beneath their Christmas trees this year.
“Let Bikes or Bust 2022 begin,” Reynolds said to an assembled crowd in the shopping center’s parking lot, as he fired up a construction lift and rode it about 40 feet into the air. Reynolds will stay atop the lift for 98 hours straight, encouraging listeners, businesses and community members to donate new bicycles and help out Emerald Coast Toys for Tots.
It’s the 11th year that a radio host from locally owned JVC Broadcasting has spent a very long weekend living atop the lift, and it will be the fifth time for Reynolds. He’s got the essentials: a pillow, a sleeping bag, blankets and a tent, all arranged on a platform not much bigger than parking space. He’s also got a portable toilet, which is located on another lift, just outside of smelling range. And despite the cramped quarters, Reynolds is looking forward to it.
“It’s going to be sunny and 70s, which is fantastic,” said Reynolds. “I’ve been here when it was raining cats and dogs. One year the lightning was so bad they had to bring me down for about an hour and let the storm pass.”
And not only will Reynolds be up in the air, he’ll also be on the air. He’ll be doing regular on-air reports, letting people know about the event and how they can help. He’ll also have a a bird’s-eye view of the Fort Walton Beach Christmas Parade, which will pass beneath him as it makes its way up Eglin Parkway Monday evening.
Those who cannot shop for bikes but still want to help can find a QR code on both Highway 98 Country’s webpage or on their Facebook page and also on the Facebook page for Emerald Coast Toys for Tots. When scanned with a smartphone camera, the QR code provides a direct link to the Toys for Tots donation page.
“So, if you can’t make the trip to Walmart or wherever to buy the bike and drop it off,” Reynolds said, “you can just donate and we’ll do the shopping for you.”
Volunteers will be on hand at Uptown Station 24 hours a day throughout the 98 hours to accept donations of bicycles and toys. Other volunteers, including airmen from Hurlburt Field’s 823rd RED HORSE Squadron, will be there to assemble bikes as needed.
“It’s quite a sight to see. You’ll see hundreds and hundreds of bicycles in this parking lot,” Reynolds said. “From the tiny tot to adult-size bikes. We sometimes forget about the teenagers, but for a lot of them that bicycle is their only form of transportation to get to school, their part-time job, or wherever.”