San Diego, CA – This past December (2010), Chopper was once again invited to participate in the annual Christmas event put on by a group of San Diego Businessmen known as “The Nice Guys.” For more than 30 years, the organization has helped hundreds of deserving individuals and families throughout the San Diego community who have fallen on hard times.
This was Chopper’s second appearance at the annual event which has taken on a significant meaning to him. You see, a year ago (Christmas of 2009), this became the first “official” event where Chopper was invited to appear as a guest. But the significance goes even deeper for owner Mark Shaffer, because he and Chopper’s predecessor, "Bandit" had been invited participants during the final two years of Bandit’s life. It was shortly after the 2008 event that Bandit, who gave his all to entertain the children at the event, passed away.
When the Nice Guys heard that Mark had a new pup named Chopper, they immediately invited them to their 2009 Christmas party, making it Chopper’s first "official" invitation. And the little biker dog didn’t waste any time showing his mettle. Barely 4 months old, Chopper hopped onto the little Harley Davidson made famous by Bandit and showed the crowd that he too was a biker dog and a force to be reckoned with when it came to entertaining and uplifting the spirits of those in need. This year, Chopper returned, fully grown, and continued the tradition he and Bandit have become known for: The gift of giving smiles.
“Just like last year, it was as if Bandit were there coaching him on,” Shaffer stated. “Chopper has developed his own unique riding style… but I’m convinced Bandit was there, watching over us and somehow guiding Chopper. It gave it such special meaning to me. It was like Bandit was there saying, 'It’s OK, I’m here to help…' It’s one of those moments one never forgets."
Last year’s event was held in the parking lot of QUALCOMM Stadium December 12th. “It was raining off and on that day,” recalls Shaffer. “I was afraid the event might have to be cancelled. But it went on and so did we.”
This year, however, the weather cooperated and made for a much more entertaining time for all. Said a proud Shaffer: “Last year, I was amazed at how quickly Chopper took to riding Bandit’s bike.” While it was a “first time” event, he recalled how clear it was to him that Chopper had all the makings of a first-class biker dog, born to entertain and bring smiles to people’s faces. And it made it all that more special to Mark Shaffer just thinking that Bandit is somehow involved with Chopper’s rapid ascension to full biker dog status. And now, a year later, Chopper is blazing his own path with his own style.
Chopper and Shaffer fully intend to continue their involvement with the annual event which helps 500-750 families each year. As Shaffer put it last year, “I was honored to be invited to join them when Bandit was here. And I’m equally honored that they have embraced Chopper now as well. We look forward to working with them again.” Judging from the smiles on the faces of all who met Chopper, I would have to say the feeling is mutual.
For more information on the San Diego Nice Guys, visit their web site: www.sdniceguys.com
Also making a special appearance was the San Diego Sheriff Department's ASTREA Team