Sunday, December 11, 2011

Local Bakersfield businessman spents eight days in an adventure race across Tasmania and lives to tell about it

 * ... EXTREME SPORTS: By day Glenn Bland runs a successful solar company (Bland Solar) but the 46-year-old Bakersfield native spends his off hours testing his body in extreme athletic events. Bland just returned from eight days in Tasmania, where he completed in the World Championship Expedition Race that drew 80 of the best four-man teams in the world. It included 130 miles of hiking, 200 miles of mountain biking, 100 miles of kayaking, navigation, and sleep deprivation. The Tasmanian government granted special permission to allow the teams to traverse some incredibly rugged - and beautiful - terrain, a true wilderness adventure. Bland previously competed in a similar race in Australia.

 * ... HART PARK: I stopped by Hart Park Sunday (is there a more beautiful setting in town than Hart Park this time of year?) to catch a cyclocross race put on by Sam Ames of Action Sports. This was a warm up race before the cyclocross state championships set for January 21 at Hart Park. Pete "the voice" Wonderly provided the sound stage to announce the action and the hills were teeming with cyclists. Spotted on the course were local riders Mike Noel, David Rous, Leo Hinds, Adam Hensley, Carl Crawford, Wayne Rosenthal, Matt Clark, Anthony Finocchiaro, Jim Pappe and Gareth Feldstein.

* ... MEA CULPA: Several readers reprimanded me for omitting Wasco High in my post about local schools vying for football Valley Championships. Though the Tigers fell short Friday night, they had a stellar year and deserve some recognition. Well done, lads.

 * ... WINNER: Hats off to Chris Laramy over at Culligan Water of Bakersfield for winning last week's Pig Skin Pick 'em contest in The Californian. He is now a two-time winner and certainly seems to know his football.

* ... FOX HISTORY: Phil Foster wrote with an interesting bit of history about his family and the Fox Theater. Turns out his father and two brothers came to Bakersfield in 1929 and all were musicians. His uncle, Roy Foster, played the organ in the orchestra pit at the Fox during the 1930s and 1940s. "The orchestra pit was on a hydraulic lift and came up during the intermissions and Roy would play for the entertainment." His father, Les Foster, taught the piano and accordion and his other uncle, Lawrence, taught the brass instruments."

 * ... MORE FOX: Emily Shapiro reminded me that St. Louis, where she lived most of her life, also has a Fox Theater that was built a year earlier than our own Fox.

 * ... SPCA: Local Realtor Patsy Sadler wrote with a well deserved pitch for our local SPCA. "When I dropped off some blankets at the SPCA I found out they operate solely on donations.... no government help!  I bet a lot of people don't realize that, so I just thought I'd drop a line and maybe people would be more giving to that organization that always need more dollars. They will keep a dog or cat until it dies no matter how old it is."

* ... BOY SCOUTS: Tom and Jack Saba asked that I give a plug to a fund raiser for Boy Scout Troop 147, and who is going to say no to the Scouts? The troop is holding its "Great American Bowl Off Junior and Adult Tournament" on Saturday, January 28, at AMF Southwest Lanes on Wible Road. It's only $20 to enter and that includes a slice of pizza, soda and bowling shoes. You need to be signed up no later than January 3. Call Tom or Jack at (661) 304-1993 or contact them at

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