EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – For the past 31 years, the Basketball in the Barrio camp has been a staple of the Segundo Barrio community each summer.
The camp once again made its return to the Armijo Rec Center on Friday for the first of three days of basketball, arts, crafts and music.
Put on each year by author and former UTEP and New Mexico State basketball coach Rus Bradburd, as well as former Miners player Steve Yellen, the camp costs just $1 per camper. This year, over 130 children chose to participate in the camp from 9-3 p.m. Friday-Sunday.
Basketball in the Barrio always gets plenty of community involvement. The UTEP basketball teams have been known to show up and former NMSU star Shawn Harrington attends each year as a guest speaker and coach.
Harrington was paralyzed in a tragic mistaken identity shooting in Chicago a decade ago, but still coaches in the Windy City, helping kids from the neighborhood he grew up in.
For Bradburd, coming back to the camp each year is very important, both in terms of giving back to the community and honoring an old friend of his, legendary El Paso boxing coach, Rocky Galarza. Galarza’s name is on a mural in the gym at the Armijo Rec Center.
“I personally do it every year as what a great person Rocky was. He trained boys and girls for free at his boxing gym for many years with no financial reward,” Bradburd said. “The idea was that kids in this neighborhood couldn’t afford an expensive summer camp. Steve Yellen and I have tried to keep the camp going for a long time as a tribute to Rocky.”
Basketball in the Barrio has been featured in major publications, including SLAM Magazine. The camp continues Saturday and Sunday in El Paso.