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Pancho Billa is first fan named to Buffalo Fan Wall of Fame

One of the most well-known fans of the Buffalo Bills has earned himself a new accolade.

Ezra Castro, better known as Pancho Billa, is the inaugural member of the Buffalo Fan Wall of Fame, which is to be part of the proposed BFLO Hall of Fame Experience.

"I almost feel like he's the face of the Buffalo Bills fan," said Therese Forton-Barnes, director of strategic planning for the nonprofit organization, which aims to develop a tourist attraction by creating a combined home for the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, the Buffalo Broadcasters Association and the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.

Organizers announced Castro's induction during a news conference Tuesday morning in KeyBank Center, where they also kicked off a crowdfunding campaign.

"The BFLO Hall of Fame Experience is all about the fans," Forton-Barnes said. "Without the fans, there would not be athletes, there would not be musicians and there would not be broadcasters."

The wall of fame, itself, does not yet exist, but is part of the planned BFLO Hall of Fame Experience.

Castro is a lifelong Bills fan and president of the Dallas-Forth Worth Bills Backers club. He recently began a new course of chemotherapy for stage 4 cancer.

Castro announced the Bills' third-round pick at the NFL Draft in April in Dallas. He attended his first Bills training camp in July. He will be presented with a wall of fame plaque in a couple of weeks when he's in town, Forton-Barnes said.

Referencing the region's 716 area code, the goal for the online crowdfunding campaign was set at $71,600.

The concept for the Hall of Fame Experience includes an area dedicated to the fans, Forton-Barnes said. Anyone can nominate a fan for the honor at the project's website, bfloexperience.org. Organizers are still working to finalize how many fans will be added to the wall of fame every year, she said.

Forton-Barnes said organizers are trying to build public support for the project and would use funding to start hiring staff. Hiring an executive director would allow the organization to focus on more significant funding sources, she said.

"This is just the start of what we need to do," she said.

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