Bob Elias photo Ken

The Bob Elias Kern County Sports Hall of Fame display at the Rabobank Arena in downtown Bakersfield, featuring plaques and memorabilia from the honored inductees.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the annual Kern County Bob Elias Sports Hall of Fame dinner at the Marriott downtown. What a great night that honors so many terrific local athletes and champions in so many fields.

I wrote a column last year about when I was inducted back in 1973. I made mention of the fact that I do not believe there is a city in the United Sates that has so many champions with such a diversion of this many sports fields.

It is just not possible. I am going to quote an excerpt from that article to remind you readers of this fact. It is just amazing. And, after this year's event, two more sports are now included....professional horse racing and mountain climbing.

"Prepare yourself for three very long sentences because I am going to list all of the categories included in the Hall of Fame. Let's start with pro football...pro baseball...pro basketball...harness racing...Olympic track and field...men & women's NCAA track and field, football, basketball, and baseball...rodeo...skeet shooting...and, baseball umpire. Then there is men and women's softball...Indy 500 winner...NASCAR winner...speedboat racing...pro tennis...Olympic swimming...roller skating...handball...snow skiing...wrestling...drag racing...and pro bowling. And don't forget boxing...men and women's golf...rugby...off road racing...air racing ...cycling...kung fu, kick boxing, and karate...Olympic rowing...and volleyball. We throw in a number of great coaches at high school, college, and professional level at many of these named sports."

With this year's inductees in February, this elite group now numbers 221. We should all be so proud of what these individuals have accomplished representing the city of Bakersfield and county of Kern. You must put a dinner on your 'to do' list for next February.

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The following is a "food for thought' note that was on Facebook a few weeks ago by Richard L. Temple.....

"True story and most people will never know it. Here's an interesting side bar. After the Japanese decimated our fleet in Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, they could have sent their troop ships and carriers directly to California to finish what they started. The prediction from our Chief of Staff was we would not be able to stop a massive invasion until they reached the Mississippi River. Remember, we had a 2 million man army and war ships in other localities, so why did they not invade? After the war, the remaining Japanese generals were asked that question. Their answer...they know that almost every home had guns and the Americans knew how to use them.

1. The world's largest army...America's hunters! I had never thought about this...2. A blogger added up the deer license sales in just a handful of states and arrived at a striking conclusion: 3. There were over 600,000 hunters this season in the state of Wisconsin. 4. Allow me to restate that number. 5. Over the last several months Wisconsin's hunters became the eighth largest army in the world. 6. More men under arms than in Iran. 7. More than in France and Germany combined. 8. These men deployed to the woods of a single American state with firearms, and no one was killed. 9. That number pales in comparison to the 750,000 who hunted the wood of Pennsylvania and Michigan's 700,000 hunters. 10. All of who have now returned home. 11. Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia and it literally establishes the fact that 12. The hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world. The number of Hunters in the state of Texas would be the largest standing army in the world by itself. 13. The point? 14. America will forever be safe from foreign invasion with that kind of home grown firepower. 15. Hunting - it's not just a way to fill the freezer. It's a matter of national security. 16. That's why all enemies, foreign and domestic, want to see us disarmed. 17. Food for thought when next we consider gun control."

I wasn't sure how accurate these figures were so I went on line to check them out. They actually were less than the numbers given for the 2018 hunting season. In fact, one site stated that the number of hunting licenses sold in the top-10 states in the country totaled just over 7,000,000!!..That's right....seven million. Add in the other 40 states and you can only imagine how defended we are by hunters across the United States.

Ken Barnes is a record setting shooter and longtime outdoorsman from Kern County. Email him at ken.barnes@aol.com with comments or column ideas.

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