Club Evicted After Murder

The Rockin’ Rodeo nightclub in Bakersfield, Calif., closed for the last time June 1st in the wake of a parking lot murder that prompted the building’s owner to evict the club.

Two people were shot, one fatally, in an early May incident police believe was gang-related.

The confrontation was caught on video and aired on local newscasts. The surviving victim is a relative of a longtime Bakersfield city councilwoman.

Violence had increasingly become a concern at the venue, which once was one of the city’s most popular and featured touring acts including The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Aaron Tippin, The Marshall Tucker Band, and Eddie Money.

In recent years, however, the club had featured country and hip-hop music in rooms on opposite ends of the 1,500-capacity nightclub and also offered karaoke and line-dancing lessons during the week. Rockin’ Rodeo’s permits to present live music were pulled last year, according to KERO-TV.

Olive Drive Partners, which owns the building and adjoining shopping complex, informed Rockin’ Rodeo owners Jack and Tina McMurrough on May 23rd that it was terminating the club’s lease and initiating eviction proceedings.

Teri Bjorn, a lawyer for the landlords, told the Bakersfield Californian that the proprietors had failed to implement “curative” security measures after multiple shootings in 2004.

“Those defaults have occurred, they are incurable, and the landlord is not only ready to take this action; it must take this action to protect itself, the public and its other tenants,” Bjorn reportedly wrote in the May 23rd letter to the McMurroughs.

John’s Incredible Pizza, a family entertainment emporium, is adjacent to the Rockin’ Rodeo building in the business complex. Bjorn gave the Californian a list of 100 police calls made to the venue since January 1, 2005, for incidents including shots fired, fighting and “lewd behavior” inside the club.

Terry Gallagher, an attorney representing the McMurroughs, told the newspaper they were well-respected owners of numerous other clubs in the Southwest. Bjorn told the paper an employee said they planned to open a new club in Texas.

There was a chain of Rockin’ Rodeo venues in the Southwest in recent years, but most of those have been sold, changed their names and had no connection with the Rockin’ Rodeo in Bakersfield or the McMurroughs, a spokesman for one of those clubs told Pollstar.