Kapko event draws crowd

More than 150 people gather at Angel Stadium’s parking lot for barbecue fundraiser in memory of Brian “Bubba” Kapko. 

By Michael Miller
Daily Pilot
July 15, 2007

ANAHEIM — Two years ago, still reeling from his younger brother’s death, Adam Kapko rounded up a group of family friends and attended an Angels game. The trip was a way of overcoming grief — Brian “Bubba” Kapko had been a die-hard Angels fan — but it was also a way for Adam to connect his brother’s circle of friends with his own.

That circle has been widening ever since. On Saturday, when Kapko’s family hosted the third annual “Bub-A-Que” fundraiser in the Angel Stadium parking lot, more than 150 people showed up — four times the amount that attended the game two years ago.

Under the massive “A” outside the ballpark, the Newport Rib Co. laid out food, folding chairs opened in the hot sun and Kapko’s picture loomed on a banner overhead.

To those who knew Kapko, the turnout came as little surprise. The 2004 Estancia High School graduate spent much of his life as a uniter, joining his school’s football team, student government, Bible Club and even theater troupe.

"He was friends with everybody," said his father, Rick Kapko. "He was kind. He was able to bridge gaps between different groups."

Kapko, 19, died in a car accident in Colorado while returning from a volleyball tournament Aug. 28, 2005. After his death, his family created the nonprofit Brian Kapko Foundation to raise money for Estancia scholarships and athletic services.

The Bub-A-Que, which charged $45 for a ticket and included admission to the Angels’ game Saturday evening, is one of the foundation’s top fundraisers every year.

The Bubba Kapko Memorial Fund provides scholarships every year to two Estancia students who share Kapko’s qualities: enthusiasm, determination and plenty of grit.

Kapko, the youngest of three athletic brothers, got his nickname from taking a number of spills as a child.

His mother, Nancy Kapko, said he once got 29 stitches in little over a year from jumping into a pool, bumping into a door frame at the gym and other mishaps.

As it turned out, though, not much could instill fear in Kapko, who went on to hustle in Little League before starring for Estancia football.

"I remember Brian being a fun-loving troublemaker," said his former baseball coach, Mike Scheafer, at the barbecue. "In a good way, of course."