Cactus Classic. Three shots of people playing basketball.

Third Cactus Classic Ends with Success

By Christian Guerithault

Ability360’s Third Annual Cactus Classic took place June 9 through June 10. This years 3-on-3 Stand-Up Amputee Basketball tournament was a huge success. Nick Pryor, Ability360 Sports and Fitness Specialist, served as tournament director.

Pryor said that the last two years each saw six teams in the tournament, while this year had seven teams.
Of the 23 players this year, Pryor said that five of them were from out of state. This year’s Cactus Classic saw players from California, Utah, Colorado, and Maryland. Pryor was also a member of this year’s championship team.

This year’s Cactus Classic Champions were AMP1 White. The players on the team were Nick Pryor (Phoenix, AZ), Steve Mosqueda (Riverside, CA), and Troy Druppal (San Francisco, CA). Pryor said that there were nine new players this year and recruiting new players and teams is a goal for future Cactus Classic tournaments.

“We have a lot of interest in the tournament,” Pryor said. “But I think now we need to find more funding resources for players to travel.”

Marc Burkom, a 36 year old gym teacher from Baltimore, MA, played in his second Cactus Classic this year. Burkom was born with fibular hemimelia syndrome. “I was born without the fibula in either leg,” Burkom said. “I was born with two toes on one foot and three toes on the other foot and both feet basically came straight off of my leg. There was no bend where the ankle is supposed to be.”

Burkom said he tried a lot of adaptive sports growing up, but amputee basketball was the perfect fit for him.
“I tried a lot of adaptive sports, but I was in this funny place where I wasn’t a wheelchair basketball player and I didn’t have other impairments,” Burkom said.

“This was the first thing I had ever seen that I felt was perfectly targeted for me, so I had to do it and I had a great time and I had to come back this year.”

The next Cactus Classic is set to take place June 16 & 17, 2018.