Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this such a special place to live. Send your news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* ... HIGHWAY 46: Rep. Kevin McCarthy had some good news this week, announcing that he had
* ... BUSH FUNERAL: McCarthy went on to say he was moved by the funeral for President George H.W. Bush, adding he hoped it would lead to a "resetting" of the national debate that has turned so ugly. The funeral allowed "America to take a deep breath," he said, and hopefully that will lead to a more civil dialogue.
* ... JUDY MCCARTHY: And speaking of the House majority leader, here's a big happy birthday to his wife, Judy Wages McCarthy, a true class act.
* ... SALES TAX: The big winners in the narrow passage of the city sales tax: Bakersfield police chief Lyle Martin who will get another 100 sworn officers on the street, City Manager Alan Tandy who will be able to make the city's pension obligations, and possibly homeless center executive Louis Gill who may benefit from a city contribution to his organization. The big loser? That would be Sheriff Donny Youngblood who may lose dozes of sworn deputies to BPD as they seek higher salaries.
* ... MICHAEL BOWERS: Congratulations to Michael Bowers who is leaving the political world to become head of public affairs for Centric Health. Bowers worked for state Sen. Andy Vidak until Vidak's defeat in the mid-term elections.
* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "The worst thing about seeing my parent's sex tape was remembering the day I filmed it."
* ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction." - Mark Twain
* ... MEMORIES: Check out this series of photos from a Kern County historical Facebook page. It appeared with this caption: "DARE DEVIL DERKUM
Paul J. C. Derkham
2 Jul 1881 to 17 Apr 1958 (aged 76)
Burial : Union Cemetery
Bakersfield, Kern County, California
--Pro bicycle racer 1898-1902
--Pro Motorcycle racer -California, US and World Champion
--Manager: Kern County Fair 1913-1924
--Owner of 1st "Drive-in" Service Station in Bakersfield
--Owner of 3 Tire Businesses
--Operator of Stage Line: Kern Co. to Santa Maria
--Beverage Industry Distributor
--1939 Manager of "Cotton is King Festival"
One of the greatest motorcycle riders of his time, if not all-time, Paul "Dare Devil" Derkum dies at 78. He was owner of Derkum Service located at 2200 Chester Avenue at 22nd in Bakersfield, California with a 2nd location on Center Street in Taft, California.
Born on July 2, 1881, he had the need for speed even as a youngster. By the time he reached his teens, he had already been racing bicycles nationally for two years. Motorcycles were just a natural progression.
Indian was the bike of choice for many of the early racers, but Paul J.C. Derkum literally made his name on a 1908 Indian twin. On February 22, 1908, Derkum broke ten speed records at a one-mile dirt track in Los Angeles—clicking off the fastest time ever for a flying mile, two miles, three miles and so on up to ten miles!
His achievements were chronicled in the California newspapers, with one Los Angeles reporter dubbing him “Dare Devil Derkum,” a name that stuck throughout his racing career.
The following excerpt is from the Los Angeles Herald, July 27, 1909.....
On July 20, 1909, at 11:15 a.m. Paul “Daredevil” Derkum checked in at Temecula during a timed 320 mile roundtrip race between Los Angeles and San Diego. He was determined to lower J. Howard Shafer’s June 30, 1909 record of 16 hours and 50 minutes. In a cloud of dust, Derkum raced his Indian north out of town and into the record books. His finishing time was 10 hours, 59 minutes, and 30 seconds.
Everyone wondered if J. Howard Shafer could break Derkum’s record and reclaim the title. On July 26, 1909, at 5:00a.m. Shafer revved up his two-cylinder Thor motorcycle at the Los Angeles Herald office on First and Broadway. Shafer was confident that he could make the run in ten hours flat. However, at 12:20 p.m., he returned to the newspaper office failing to set a new record.
“Shafer, who went as far as Santa Ana, was met by a large brown hen at that city and in the mix-up which followed, Shafer, the hen and the motorcycle precipitated into a nearby ditch with the result that Derkum's record is still unsullied and that Shafer returned with a badly battered up machine and a whole handful of chicken chicken feathers as the result of his effort.” Source: Today in Motorcycle History, April 17, 1958