Local DJ Amer and Co-Founder of Project Freedom. (Meili Bettina Robles/Borderzine.com)

Downtown welcomes glowing Halloween revelers with open streets

EL PASO — Whether they were dressed as a banana, boxing champion, a huge hand flipping the bird, or just plain decked out in glow sticks, one thing was certain, they celebrated the first Halloween of its kind running through downtown. Thanks to Downtown Glow, the first annual event by Flow Entertainment, El Pasoans had a place to celebrate Halloween in a healthy, fun and bright way. The event took place on October 31 on one mile of closed streets including Oregon and Main. “We had seen this concept in other cities and saw that it was very successful,” said Crystal Bocanegra, co-founder of Downtown Glow. After seeing an event like this in Las Vegas, Crystal and her husband Alby decided to use their experience in event planning to create one where participants could enjoy what their own city had to offer.

José "Mantequilla" Nápoles muestra uno de sus cinturones que lo acreditan cono campeón. (Jesús Alcázar/Somosfrontera.com))

Gloria del boxeo espera entre carencias “la campanada del último round”

Por Lourdes Cárdenas

CIUDAD JUAREZ, México –  Ya no hay músculo en lo que alguna vez fueron sus rápidos y veloces brazos, ni tampoco agilidad en su caminar o en sus movimientos. Su memoria lo traiciona y con frecuencia se retira a su esquina, ignorando el bullicio a su alrededor, ensimismado en sus pensamientos. Duerme de 5 de la mañana a 5 de la tarde y por las noches juega Solitario y ve televisión. Pero lo que más disfruta es sentarse en una pequeña banca en la banqueta de su casa y fumarse un puro. Entonces, los vecinos llegan a saludarlo y los niños, esos que no habían nacido cuando él estaba en la cúspide de la fama, le recuerdan lo grandioso que fue en el cuádrilatero.

Drug use can kill the dream of college sports stardom, but education and testing help avert costly mistakes

EL PASO – Almost every child has had a dream of being a famous athlete or sports superstar, but only a small percentage actually achieves this dream while still in college. For the talented lucky few who do make it into college sports, sometimes a wrong choice – abusing drugs or alcohol – can swiftly end the dream. Wrong choices almost ended the collegiate athletic career for Tom (not his real name), 25. He tested positive on a drug-test in 2009 after he smoked marijuana while on the football team at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). But he said he learned his lesson and he made sure not make the same mistake again.

Matt Camilli at the game against the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes in November 20, 2011. (Stephanie Solis/Borderzine.com)

Four 2012 Miners joined the NFL as free agents

EL PASO — After their share of blood, sweat, and heartbreak at the Sun Bowl, four former University of Texas at El Paso football players won the opportunity to reach the next level in their careers – the NFL. The 2012 UTEP graduates recently signed by NFL teams as free agents are Joseph Banyard, Matthew Camilli, Donavon Kemp and Antwon Blake. “I have sacrificed so much for this moment and it feels so unreal,” Banyard said.”I know very few get this opportunity.”

This rise to the national professional ranks of these four players marks a milestone for coach Mike Price, since it is the largest group of ex-Miners to be signed as free agents since he has been leading the team. “The coaches have molded me from a young man into a grown man and to have tough skin,” Banyard said. Banyard is coming off a great senior year as a running back with the Miners.

Remembering the Indios de Juárez

EL PASO, Texas – Sergio Villasenor often worries for his relatives across the border in his home city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Members of his family have dealt with four assaults at their place of business in a city still wracked with drug cartel-related violence. It isn’t as bad as it was even a couple of years ago, when the city of more than a million people recorded 3,103 murders. But Juarez is still unsafe territory for the El Paso Patriots midfielder who works across the international border from where he lives. “The truth is that it’s really hard to live in Ciudad Juarez, so I’m trying to find ways to bring them here (to Texas),” Villasenor said, “for a better state of being.”

One must pay the cartels for the right to operate a business in town, or perhaps be forced to close, or have their establishment burned down, Villasenor explained.

Matt Camilli, ranked one of the top five senior long snappers in the country by Pro Football Weekly. (Stephanie Solis/Borderzine.com)

Matt Camilli – The long snap to a pro-football career

EL PASO – The six-foot-four Miner who stood out from the sideline with his golden locks, Matt Camilli is waiting to hear from the NFL in the coming days. Long snapper Camilli had a phenomenal career playing for University of Texas at El Paso.  Starting off as a walk-on freshmen and ending his career with the Miners with a scholarship. Camilli was selected 2011 All Conference USA first Team his senior year, as well as special teams captain his senior year and ranked one of the top five senior long snappers in the country by Pro Football Weekly. He is now hoping to take his career to the next level with an NFL team. “There has only been one long snapper drafted in nine years.

Female UTEP athletic trainer standing between towering football players.

Women working in all-male sports learn to adapt and flourish

EL PASO – I stand on the sidelines of an XXL world filled with, size-17 shoes, and giants battling for a pigskin ball in a field of blood, sweat, ice and medical tape, one of a few women allowed in the center of the turmoil. There are very few women involved in the male maelstrom, whether it is college football or in the NFL. Having a passion for the game and also being involved in the media aspect, I have seen that women are undervalued in the world of men’s sports. “Have you ever noticed those female sideline reporters the networks employed for NFL games? And have you ever noticed they’re all a bunch of ignorant bimbos that wouldn’t know a football field from a cornfield without a man pointing them in the right direction ” said comedian Norm McDonald while imitating Andy Rooney.

Men are not an strange presence in Zumba classes any longer. (Victoria Perez/Borderzine.com)

Men also can Zumba their way to fitness

EL PASO – Entering a room packed mostly with women can make some men feel threatened and realizing that they have to join in and exercise to the rhythm of sexy music can be even more intimidating. “I was very very scared the first time because there were like 40 girls and I was the only man there,” said Marco Lopez. That’s how Lopez, 23, described his first Zumba class at the University of Texas at El Paso. Men are usually less attracted to aerobics classes for exercise and a class where all you do to work out is dance can become a big challenge for most men. Zumba has become the newest trend in exercising.

UTEP football players ready for the Houston game. (Ivan Pierre Aguirre/Courtesy of UTEP Athletics)

Few UTEP athletes come from El Paso, but not for lack of recruiting effort

EL PASO – Less than 10 per cent of the athletes at the University of Texas at El Paso – a division one university that offers most of the collegiate sports – are from El Paso, yet the coaching staff recruits here first. There are 32 high schools in El Paso with plenty of good athletes graduating every year, yet only 10 of UTEP’s football team of 110 players are from El Paso. “We usually take the kids from El Paso and give them a chance to sign with us,” said Coach Robert Rodriguez, the UTEP football recruiting coach for El Paso. That means El Paso players of division one caliber are the first to get an opportunity to sign with the Miners. When looking at some of the players that UTEP has tried to get in the past, it appears that “UTEP loses players to bigger BCS [Bowl Championship Series] schools,” said UTEP football coach Jeff Banks.

Woman boxer pounds away the obstacles in a male-dominated sport

EL PASO — Her swollen eyes gaze at her bloody opponent sitting in the opposite corner of the ring as her coach shouts out demands for the last round of the bout. Heavy hands hang on the ropes as she inhales and exhales trying to catch her breath while the mostly male crowd howls. Just as the bell sounds, she forces her body to her feet and moves guardedly to the center of the ring. She taps gloves with her opponent and the round begins. Jasmine Rodriguez, 20, a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso, entered the ring at the Sports and Health Expo held here in April to fight in one of the day’s only two women’s boxing matches.

Juarez coach now trains long-distance runners at UTEP

EL PASO – The violence that overwhelms daily life in Ciudad Juarez didn’t stop Pedro Lopez from helping others pursue the dream of becoming world-class runners. But now he dreams of the American dream. “The violence in Juarez is crazy. It became a crazy city. I remember when I was young and I could go out at whatever time and come back home late and not have any problem.

Sun City thaws for the Super Bowl

El Pasoans celebrate the Super Bowl

EL PASO, Texas — The frigid cold from the worst winter blizzard to hit the Sun City in a decade didn’t stop Super Bowl fans here from overheating. Record low temperatures in El Paso that caused citywide blackouts and water restrictions didn’t stop fans from celebrating one last Sunday of football. While over 100,000 spectators watched the Green Bay Packers drub the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL’s 45th Super Bowl game February 6 at Dallas Stadium in Arlington, Texas, millions celebrated at home and bars across the country. El Paso predominantly a Dallas Cowboys fan-base, voiced a share of cheers for both teams.

Local sporting goods stores took advantage of the popularity of the teams, Sports Xplosion manager Oscar Moreno noticed an increase in sales this year compared to last year’s Super Bowl, which featured the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints, “It’s been real busy. We’re up about 30 percent compared to last year at this time,” Moreno said in the days leading up to the game.

UTEP runner Kitria Stewart’s legs are all in her mind

EL PASO, Texas — My heart is racing. My mind replays the race over and over again 30 minutes before it begins, with me envisioning how I will perform. A part of me is very confident, telling me I will run well, while the other part doubts my ability to finish the 800-meter run. The gun goes off. Eight competitors bump and push at my side and I gradually move with them through the first lap.  One more to go.

Buckram rushes for the Miners and El Paso aiming for the NFL

EL PASO, Texas — Donald Buckram played his career breakout season in 2009 knowing that he needed exactly that to let the NFL scouts know that he has what it takes to shine on Sundays in the big league. The senior running back from the University of Texas at El Paso compiled 1,594 yards and 18 touchdowns in his junior season with the Miners. Not only did he run the ball, Buckram, broke a UTEP record that stood since 1948, held by former Texas Western (now UTEP) running back Fred Wendt. Buckram didn’t always aspire to play football. Growing up in Copperas Cove, Texas, he idolized another sport other than football.

El fútbol atrae a estudiantes internacionales al área del noreste de Tennessee

Traducido por Cristina Arellano

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Un grupo de jóvenes corre por el campo de fútbol en Bristol, Tennessee, gritando jugadas y palabras de aliento a los demás. Lo que están diciendo es comprensible, pero su acento no suena igual. Eso es porque este grupo de varones es un crisol de estudiantes de todo el mundo. Muchos jóvenes de todo el mundo vienen a los Estados Unidos cada año para asistir a la universidad, una oportunidad que no es una hazaña fácil.

The Floppers — A bad call awakens the US to the thrill of world soccer

EL PASO, Texas — Many have often wondered why soccer (football in the rest of the world) popularity in the United States has never been the same as that of the world. I lend a theory to this. Low scores, no real off-season, too many events already happen here that do not happen elsewhere and flopping. Americans like entertainment, they like high scores and dramatic finishes. The bottom line comes down to the fact that soccer’s simplicity may be the contributing factor to its lack of popularity and exposure in the United States.

College Hoops Stars Wonder What Their NBA Future Holds

EL PASO, Texas — New talent may have to put their pro dreams on hold a while longer if the NBA goes on strike for the 2011 season, which would be a new example of another professional sports letdown. Unless a new agreement is reached, the second NBA work stoppage in about a decade would take place in September 2011. How will the players who are still in college feel about this situation? From my personal experience as one of these college basketball players I find the NBA lockout as a true misfortune. I can’t help but question why this is happening at the time of my graduation.

UTEP’s Randy Culpepper Can Fly on the Court and in the Classroom

EL PASO, Texas — Dribble, swish, slam, fly and dunk. That describes Randy Culpepper —Conference USA’s 2010 Player of the Year. Although the junior shooting guard at the University of Texas at El Paso didn’t start out wanting to play basketball, Culpepper has turned into one of the best players ever to don a Miner uniform. That is a great accomplishment in itself since an array of great talent has played at the school, including Nate Archibald, Bobby Joe Hill and Tim Hardaway. Growing up in Memphis, Tenn., Culpepper originally started training as a gymnast long before touching a basketball.

Miner Fans — Show Pride in the Orange and Blue and Support Your Teams

EL PASO, Texas — Taking a page out of Peter Griffin’s book of “you know what grinds my gears?” is our fan base here at UTEP. Our fan base has to be one of the worst fan bases in all of sports! You ask why? Well it’s because we have a fan base that is made up of a bunch of complainers and fair weather fans. We have the only fan base that I know of, that calls into a sports show and complains about an extra surcharge on tickets.

A Miners Season to Remember

EL PASO, Tex. — As a student at UTEP for almost three years, I have never witnessed a basketball season as successful as the one this year’s UTEP team accomplished. For the first time in five years, the Miners’ regular season victories earned them an NCAA tournament bid. This season was a wild ride for the team as well as the fans. The Miners closed out the regular season with an impressive (15-2) record at home this year and an impressive (24-5) overall.

It Is Always Easier With a Gym Buddy

EL PASO, Texas — I must admit I am a little bit calorie obsessed when it comes to food. I have never been able to blindly shovel food into my mouth without the nagging “How many calories am I eating?” thought in the back of my mind.  I work out as much as I can and warily watch what goes into my mouth. Thinking back, I’d say I would have to blame my health nut parents for my cautious eating habits.  Growing up, my parents worked out religiously and our refrigerator was stocked with only foods labeled “diet,” “low-fat” or “fat-free.” Skim milk, Equal and diet soda were staples in my household, and still are.  Our living room practically doubles as a gym with all of the equipment we own. I enjoy working out and actually find it rather therapeutic but I wasn’t always this way. As much as my family enjoys burning those calories every day, I on the other hand had never lifted a finger to use one of the various machines at our home.

Wild West Miami Heat Family Festival

MIAMI, F.L. — Children laughing and playing games, people taking pictures with their favorite Miami Heat basketball players and coaches, a silent auction involving autographed jerseys, shoes, and pictures, and the best food in Miami can sum up this past weekend’s event.  All proceeds benefit Jackson Memorial Foundation’s Guardian Angels, SafeSpace domestic violence shelter, the Miami Coalition for a Safe & Drug Free Community and Project Mediashare. Every year the teams gives a day to the organizations they raise money for and attracts some of the best restaurants and chefs in Miami as well as have great games for the kids. They had ponies, cowboys on horses in Miami, a mechanical bull, a small basketball court, massages and it is all free.  It is more than pleasing to see such busy athletes giving back to the community in the way of inspiration.  Children got to shoot hoops with Dwayne Wade for an hour and then he emceed a mechanical bull riding competition between the kiddies. After an amazing weekend in Miami this was certainly a great way to top it all off.  Fortunately, I enjoyed two NBA games (Heat vs. Lakers and Heat vs.

Running Like an Animal

EL PASO, Texas — I was introduced to the outdoors as a child.  I would go on hunting trips with my father and would go with my family on month-long excursions in the wilderness. I was also a Boy Scout and my road to Eagle Scout really gave me a connection to the land. Despite having a loving upbringing with values and morals, I lost my way somewhere along the line as a teenager and failed to realize my true potential. After many failed attempts to get my life together, I accidentally discovered while wandering in the Franklin Mountains that nature was my touchstone to finding meaning in my life. I found the solitude of nature very therapeutic, and the rocks and trees to be the best listeners to a world of emotions and problems I was facing.

Richardson Passes on Strong Words to Kick Off Black History Month

EL PASO, Texas — The charisma and the poise of El Paso basketball legend Nolan Richardson resonated in the entire room with the first few words he spoke in a deep commanding voice. “There was times when I wished I could just take my skin and just peel it off and turn white so I could be accepted because I knew I could do the job,” Richardson said. From a very young age, life was not easy for a young African American boy growing up in a predominantly Hispanic city

The former college basketball national champion coach and El Paso’s Segundo Barrio own son returned to The Sun City to keynote Black History Month at the University of Texas at El Paso and to help promote his new biography, “40 Minutes of Hell” by Rus Bradburd. Richardson addressed Miners of the past, present and future on his heritage, where he came from and how those things led him to become the sports star and humanitarian he is today. Richardson, famous for his powerful and motivational speeches delivered a message reminiscent of Martin Luther King Jr. He said King was influential in his life.

Brawley Cattle Call Rodeo

BRAWLEY, Calif. – Heart beating wildly, crowd cheering madly, Trevor Smith climbed over the bucking chute and carefully balanced his weight on a two-ton, half-crazed-bull. His gloved hands quickly worked the bull rope that would allow him to maintain balance. As his name was announced over the loud speakers, Smith, like any bull rider, was focused on an adrenaline rush to get him through the next eight seconds. The chute flew open and the two-ton bull bolted straight out the gate.

Alcohol Blamed for Violence at Tailgate Parties

EL PASO — Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the lawn prove that students have been drinking at a tailgate. Two arrests for public intoxication October 21 at the University of Texas at El Paso prove that alcohol creates problems at campus tailgate parties. “Tailgating is a tremendous problem on this campus,” said Lieutenant Michael Hanna, a 22-year veteran on the UTEP police force. Hanna told UTEP journalism students recently that violence and underage drinking at tailgates is exacerbated by extended tailgating time.  “Part of the problems with tailgating is that before [tailgating time was restricted] you could tailgate anytime, anywhere, whatever.

Chupacabras sobre ruedas en Ciudad Juárez

CIUDAD  JUÁREZ, México — Más de dos mil personas se unieron al reto de una carrera ciclista de 100km donde a pesar de caídas, raspones, fracturas e insolaciones, vivieron experiencias que cambiaron su vida. “Como dice el lema, es un reto que te cambia y terminar el Chupacabras es el reto principal de casi todos los participantes,” dijo David Olivas de 26 años quien recorre la pista de Chupacabras desde hace tres años. El sábado 10 de Octubre, como cada año, se llevó a cabo una carrera ciclista de 100km en el lado mexicano de la frontera con Estados Unidos a lo largo del Río Bravo y la sierra de Juárez bajo condiciones extremas de terreno y clima. En 1994, Jorge Urías Cantú junto con su compadre Luis Villarreal compartían el sueño de llevar acabo el ciclismo de una manera formal, por lo que junto con varios amigos salían a recorrer la sierra de Ciudad Juárez en  busca de nuevas pistas. Durante uno de los recorridos por la sierra, según cuenta Luis Gabriel Sosa, director de mercadotecnia de la organización, alguien mencionó la posibilidad de que el chupacabras (leyenda sobre un misterioso animal que chupa la sangre de los animales hasta matarlos) se apareciera por ahí, por lo que el recorrido comenzó a adoptar ese nombre y cuando se formaliza la carrera, obtiene oficialmente el nombre de Chupacabras.

El Paso martial arts hitting back

EL PASO — A bead of sweat hits the mat. Adrenaline is pumping through every vein in my body as I am trying to choke out my opponent with rear naked choke. Looking for an arm bar, rear naked choke, guillotine, or kamora, any opening that my opponent gives me I will take.

Corren mil por la amistad en el verdadero Juárez

Año tras año, desde 1968 se lleva a cabo la Carrera Pedestre Internacional de la Amistad “Lic. Francisco J. Cuéllar” que reune a miles de personas para participar en las carreras de 3 km (categoría recreativa) y 10 km (categoría mayor). Esta carrera en sus inicios estaba enfocada a resaltar la amistad que hay entre las ciudades vecinas de Juárez y El Paso, por lo que el recorrido se dividía entre las dos ciudades, pero esto terminó después del atentado en contra de los Estados Unidos el 11 de septiembre de 2001.