RIO BRAVO RUMBLE: I started my Saturday morning by attending the Rio Bravo Rumble, organized by Brian Monroe and Glinn & Giordano Physical Therapy. I have to say it is one of my favorite runs to do each year, and I'm not saying this because I have gone to Glinn & Giordano for physical therapy in the past and been pleased with its staff (great people there).

But, for one, the Rio Bravo is held on a beautiful, private stretch of the Rio Bravo Ranch. It is breathtaking scenery for trail runners, walkers and mountain bikers. Second, it is an event that welcomes competitive and newcomers in a variety of categories, including a biathlon (10k run and 16-mile bike ride -- team or individual) and solo 5k and 10k runs. Third, this is truly a family event.

At the Rumble, there was a free kids race and a section for children to color and draw, as well as a wall rock-climbing area. The free run/bike kids race was a featured by Time Magazine in 2011 as an event that encouraged healthier lifestyles among youth, according to organizers.

If you haven't tried this event, mark it on your calendar for next year. But make sure you do some training. The adult races involve some hill climbs, and even some of the trained athletes were walking up them Saturday. Sequoia Sandwich Co. offered the post-race lunch while Clif Bar, Bolthouse, Paramount Citrus and Wonderful Pistachios provided free goodies.

It was neat to spot familiar faces at this event, including junior high school teacher Mike Hutson and his family; Karen Wells and her son, Matt (who placed fifth overall in 10k solo men's race, by the way); Hillary Haenes of Bakersfield Life Magazine; and Art Medina of Brown Armstrong and his wife, Andrea, who works at Cal State Bakersfield. In addition, I made a new friend, a State Farm auto underwriter and avid runner who relocated from Santa Rosa to Bakersfield about a year ago and is getting to know Bakersfield through healthy community events such as the Rio Bravo Rumble.

BUSINESS AWARDS: Congratulations are in order for a group of people who will be honored for their community work and business accomplishments. The Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will be honoring a number of local businesses and professionals with awards at its 27th annual Installation of Officers and Business Awards, to be held 6 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Bakersfield Marriott Hotel in downtown Bakersfield.

The honorees are: Business Man of the Year Award, Joe Cornejo; Woman of the Year, Dr. Rebecca Rivera; Small Business of the Year, Jacalito Grill; Large Business of the Year, El Clasificado; Corporation of the Year, Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center; Community Service Award, Audrey Chavez; Nonprofit of the Year, African American Network of Kern County; and Chair Recognition, Shirley Franco.

I've had the opportunity to get to know many of these individuals, such as Dr. Rivera, Chavez and Dee Slade, the driving force behind the African American Network. They are such an outstanding, admirable trio of women. They are never seek the spotlight for themselves. Yet they have accomplished so much in achieving success in the community and business world that they are so deserving of recognition in more ways than one.

At the dinner, the KCHCC will also install its new officers. The 2012 executive board includes: David Alanis (California Employment Development Department); Realtor Blodgie Rodriguez; Denise Ornelas (La Bonita Tortilla Co.); Carlos Navarro (Bakersfield Marriot at the Convention Center); and Risto Rubio (Mission Family Mortuary). Alanis will take the lead as chair of the board. Many may know Alanis (I've known him for several years now) through his community work and involvement with EDD. He is a stand-up, dedicated guy, and the chamber is fortunate to have a leader like him. I am told tickets are still available for the awards dinner. If you would like to attend, email or call 661-633-5495.

These are the opinions of Olivia Garcia, not necessarily The Bakersfield Californian. Email her at

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