JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — A fundraiser to honor the legacy of Bills superfan Ezra Castro, better known as Pancho Billa, will take place in Jamestown this weekend.
Collaborative Children’s Solutions owner Patrick Smeraldo is teaming up with Nick Rein of Taquito Lindo in Grand Island and 12 Gates Brewery to host a fundraiser to further the efforts already being made in Pancho’s memory.
“When we opened the restaurant, Andy Macmon who’s the owner of Taquito Lindo, he’s good friends with the owners of 12 Gates Brewery. So we wanted to come out with a beer specific for the restaurant and that was it, we didn’t nothing. So when it came down to naming the beer for the restaurant, there’s no bigger name in Buffalo or Western New York than Pancho as far as the Mexican community and the Bills community,” says Rein.
5.14 percent of the proceeds from the Pancho’s Legacy Lager gets donated each year on May 14th to honor the day Pancho passed away. Last year the funds went to Roswell Park Cancer Center, and this year, they will go to Harrison’s Playmakers.
Harrison Phillips and Pancho had a special connection, as Pancho had the honor of announcing his draft pick at the 2018 NFL Draft to the Bills.
While a Buffalo Bill, Philips created Harrison’s Playmakers, an organization that gives kids with developmental differences and special needs the opportunity to play sports and share experiences they would likely not otherwise have. He was also nominated twice for the Walter Peyton Man of the Year Award.
“There’s one in Omaha where he’s from, there’s now one in Minneapolis where he is, and there’s one in Buffalo. So he’s taken hundreds of kids shopping in three different cities. He doesn’t have to do any of that, but he is to give back to the community,” says Rein.
Smeraldo has previously collaborated with Harrison’s Playmakers on Veteran’s Day weekend when he walked from Jamestown to Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park during the Bills and Vikings game.
“I was speaking to my friend that knew Harrison and her child was a playmaker and she said, you know there’s a beautiful picture of Harrison when Pancho passed of opening day when he came out of the tunnel in the sombrero. And that was just one more thing that said, this is the project we need to be doing,” explained Smeraldo.
The fundraiser will take place at The Pub in Jamestown during Saturday night’s primetime Bills-Dolphins game at 8 p.m. Pancho’s Legacy Lager will be the beer of choice.