ROCKTON - Andy Bufalo says he owes much of his success in life to what he learned as a football player.
He'd love it if a lot of youngsters had that same opportunity.
That's why Bufalo, of Bufalo Contracting, decided to subsidize a free three-hour Trench Training Play Big Camp for kids in fourth through eighth grade Tuesday at Hononegah High School's practice field.
The camp was run by Hononegah grad and former Wisconsin Badger Steve Stark as well as another ex-Badger, Glenn Derby, who played three seasons in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints.
"I've known Steve since high school and I noticed the numbers for this camp here have been down," Bufalo said. "I asked Steve what I could do and decided I'd just pay for it."
While Bufalo was a flanker in high school, he said he appreciates the value of knowing how to block and beat a block, the specialities of Trench Training. The youngsters are taught some of the tricks of the trade playing on the line on either side of the ball.
In addition to Stark and Derby, they brought two current Badgers as well as Martin DiJaun Hyatte, a former Rockford high school star and semi-pro standout.
About 50 kids took advantage of the free camp Tuesday.
"To see an ex-NFL player and a former and some current Badgers working with these kids is just awesome," Bufalo said. "You never know what impact they can have on a few of these kids long-term.
"I wouldn't be where I am without playing football. I built my business like you would build a football team. You have to have the right guys in the right spots. You must have different guys ready to different jobs. You need leaders and you need loyalty. I learned all that from football."
Bufalo has coached youth football for seven years, most recently in the Rockton Rebels program, but he left it up to the offensive and defensive line experts Tuesday night.
Stark, who was a starting right guard in a Rose Bowl for the Badgers, went on to coach high school football at Delavan-Darien for 10 years. He has teamed up with Derby the past four years in holding the linemen-specific training camps.
They hold five six-week training sessions at three Wisconisn sites and eight one-day day camps. The emphasis with the campers is strictly on technique, not contact. Doing things the right way at an early age will help create positive habits. The right way is also the safe way and will help reduce the risk of concussions.