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Don't call him Mr. Pegula: Why Pegula wants to be just Terry

Terry Pegula tells people to call him by his first name, even though players and staff typically address him as "Mr. Pegula."

Pegula had a chance encounter many years ago with Walmart founder Sam Walton, whose company has a policy that every employee is to be addressed on a first-name basis. That included him.

Pegula, 68, can't remember exactly how old he was, but he recalls that it was early in his business career. Pegula was having lunch with a man in Charlottesville, Va., on the University of Virginia campus.

"I was trying to buy this guy's gas wells," Pegula said during a recent conversation with The Buffalo News. "There was a guy walking by us and the guy I was having lunch with said, 'Here, I want you to meet somebody.' He turned to the man walking by and said, 'Hey, Sam, I want you to meet this bright, young man I met.'

"I shook hands with Sam and talked with him. He asked me a few questions and then said, 'Nice to meet you,' and he walked away. The guy then said, 'You know who that was?' I said, 'No, I have no idea.' He said, 'Sam Walton.' You know what my next question was? 'Who's Sam Walton?' "

Pegula's lunch companion told him Walton was "one of the richest guys in the country."

Pegula has never forgotten how that casual introduction to such a wealthy businessman made him feel instantly comfortable. He wants people to feel the same way around him.

"Of course, after (he learned of Walton's wealth), I was like, 'Oh, I hope I didn't say something wrong?' " Pegula said. "People normally react like that, but you shouldn't be like that."

Terry Pegula aims to be just a guy at One Bills Drive

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