The Buffalo Bills organization took time at their home opener Sunday to honor Ezra Castro – better known as his alias Pancho Billa.
The Bills superfan died in May after a long battle with cancer. But Bills Mafia is making sure they don’t forget his legacy.
Three companies – 26shirts, Zubaz and Chalk Line – have formed a partnership to release a limited edition jacket with a picture of Castro on the back in his iconic Pancho Billa outfit.
According to Ilan Friedman of Chalk Line, the idea came from California-native and longtime Bills fan Justin Higgs, who wanted to create something to pay tribute to his friend. Higgs approached Chalk Line with the idea, and within two weeks the company had formed the collaboration with 26shirts and Zubaz to make it happen just in time for the home opener.
The jackets cost $99, with $40 going toward Castro’s family. They’re on sale until Oct. 20.
“Nothing can ever replace him or what he meant to fans today, but it brings things full circle to be able to do something small for his family,” Friedman said.
“I’m really excited [for the tribute], for Ezra’s memory – for Pancho’s memory,” said 26shirts owner, Del Reid. “He was the face of all Bills fans, and we’re going to carry that with us going into the future.”
The jackets aren’t the only tribute being paid to Pancho Billa – the Bills organization also made sure they did something special for their superfan.
In a pregame ceremony, team owners Terry and Kim Pegula gave footballs and jerseys with “Pancho Billa” on the back to his family, while a video tribute played on the Jumbotron.
Castro’s longtime girlfriend Veronia Borjon said she’s grateful for the support shown by the team and its fans.
“To love a team is meaning loving a whole city, loving the whole fans, loving everything a city represents and you can get that love in return,” Borjon said.