El Paso Buffalo Bills Super Fan Pancho Billa Dies Of Cancer
If you followed the NFL draft last year, you probably saw a really sweet moment when the Buffalo Bills announced a pick by bringing a former El Pasoan, Ezra Castro, who went by the fan name Pancho Billa, to the stage to announce the team's third round draft pick. Ezra was a Bills fan favorite and was chosen by the team to lead the fan delegation at the draft last year when the NFL created the "Inner Circle" experience for dedicated fans to be able to take part in the draft and cheer on their teams during the event.
Ezra was just 39 years old. He graduated from Riverside High School and played football for the Rangers. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and underwent surgery in December of that year. Mike and I got the chance to interview him a couple of days after his draft appearance. He told us he has been a fan of the Bills ever since he was a kid and his dad told him to pick a team. He said the Dallas Cowboys were not his pick, but he really liked the Bills and has been a fan for over 30 years. From BuffaloBills.com:
"After learning of his diagnosis, Bills faithful from around the country have taken to social media to offer their support, using #PanchoPower to inspire others to get involved."
Ezra was the sweetest, funniest interview I've ever had the honor of being a part of. He told us that he had been told by various team officials that they were going to try and get him up on stage to announce a pick, but as the time drew closer, they told him it probably wouldn't happen. When it did, you can see in this video that Ezra was overcome with emotion.
I can't watch Pancho's 2018 draft video without crying. He was so surprised to be called up and you can see the tears in his eyes. I'm desperately sorry for his family and for his Buffalo Bills family. What a lovely man you had in Ezra. I was truly honored to have been able to speak with him and learn his story.
Rest in peace, Pancho Billa. You will be missed.