Bakersfield, California: Muffler Man - The Indian WarriorClassic towering fiberglass statue made in the 1960s to promote roadside businesses.
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The Indian Warrior
Radio station KERN broadcast an interview with Bakersfield realtor Kenny Barnes. He said that his family bought the Indian Warrior -- known then simply as the Big Indian -- for about $1,400 in the mid-1960s, to call attention to the Barnes' Big O Tires store (It was a time when tire brands had Indian names). One of Kenny Barnes' jobs was to climb a ladder and yank out the arrows that had been shot into the Indian, and also to retrieve them from the roof of the store. The family sold the business in 1972 and the Indian went to a school in Oildale.
In the late 1980s he was moved to a private ranch and restored, then in 2001 the rancher returned the Indian to Bakersfield, where he now stands at Ethel's Old Corral Cafe. Kenny Barnes was invited to its dedication.[RoadsideAmerica.com Team, 06/15/2013]
This Muffler Man Indian used to stand over the traffic circle on Chester Avenue (the north end of the downtown area) in front of the Big O tire shop, facing south. If memory serves, the shop used to be "Big Red Indian Tires." He was a less burgundy color then. I remember the arrows stuck in him, and I remember that he was donated to Standard Middle School for some unknown reason (my mother was teaching there at the time). Thanks for the update on a familiar face from my childhood![Curtis Gropp, 05/31/2005]
Muffler Man - The Indian Warrior
Muffler Man of Bakersfield California is one of the lucky ones. A fine specimen of the Indian variety, he spent 17 years lying behind a school before a cowboy finally vowed to give the "Warrior" a good home at his ranch. When the ranch was sold, the cowboy kept his word and had the Warrior moved to a place of honor, standing proud atop a pedestal wrapped with bricks engraved with the names of sponsors along with this sordid tale. Interestingly, the Warrior, like many other Muffler Men across the nation, has survived being pelted with arrows in the chest.[splatt, 09/10/2004]
This big Indian dude appeared recently next to a popular biker watering hole in northeast Bakersfield. I think he might be a reconfigured muffler man, or possibly a close relative.[Gwen Barnes, 10/05/2001]