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UTEP fans celebrate 50th anniversary of Sun Bowl stadium
By: Bill Melugin
EL PASO, Texas --
The University of Texas, El Paso's Sun Bowl stadium turned 50 years old on Saturday.
The Sun Bowl first opened on Sept. 21, 1963, when UTEP, formerly known as Texas Western, played North Texas State.
The Sun Bowl originally seated 30,000. It now seats 52,000.
KFOX14 asked tailgating UTEP fans what their favorite memory in Sun Bowl stadium has been.
"By far, definitely 2005, Texas Tech, that's probably the loudest I've ever heard the Sun Bowl, and I got chills just hearing the crowd," said Alan Perez. "It was an overtime loss against Texas Tech, but it was the best game I've ever been to in that stadium."
"It would have to be when we beat No. 15 Houston in about 2008, I believe, and we all stormed the field," Gino Espinoza said. "Oh man, just being with everybody, it felt like we all did it together, as a crowd and as a team."
"My favorite memory would definitely be when the lights turned off,, everyone just freaked out and all of a sudden you hear the band playing and everyone went ballistic," said Adrian Aguilar.
"Performing at halftime, it's the best feeling in the world, just like the audience standing up and cheering every time we play," said Juan Carlos, a former UTEP band member.
The Sun Bowl didn't play host to just football. It was also the site of numerous concerts, monster truck shows, and even a prime time boxing match featuring Oscar De La Hoya.
Fans said the future for the stadium is bright and being able to host the Sun Bowl is an added perk.
"It's a tradition. I've gone since I was 8 years old, I remember great teams like Oregon and Notre Dame playing there, just great games, I'll never forget them," Espinoza said. "For what they've done with the stadium, and some of the renovations, it's awesome, even now it's only going to get better."