YNN's 12th Man: Big Tree Bills Fan
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The owner of the Big Tree Inn is used to the traffic coming and going from Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park.
Daniel DeMarco is a lifelong Bills fan.
But three decades ago, when he bought the bar down the road from the stadium, he was following his mind, not his heart.
"I thought of it more as a business opportunity," said DeMarco.
The move paid off in the early 90's.
As the Bills got good, business boomed.
"I couldn't open until noon and then there'd be people waiting out in line," said DeMarco.
It wasn't just fans patronizing the bar.
"I've got all these pictures with all these celebrities up there on my wall," DeMarco.
The Buffalo Bills, future hall of famers, were regulars.
"They used to come in on Friday afternoons right after practice,” said DeMarco. “They'd line up the tables in the back and have some drink, wings, subs, whatever they wanted."
What they did was just hang out and hash everything out."
DeMarco says it was like a family. They all became friends.
"The thing is, they were all not only great football players, but they were nice people," said DeMarco.
These days things have calmed down a little.
But he says almost all the people whose names hang from his wall, still stop in on occasion.
"If you look at all the jerseys I have here now, the fact is that we kind of grew up together," said DeMarco.
DeMarco's still a season ticket holder and a die-hard.
"When he's around, we're in Bills territory and everything's great," said bartender Joey Espinoza.
"You come into the Big Tree, you sit down, have a drink, have some fun that's it," said DeMarco.
Although he's met too many stars to count, he says at his bar everyone's equal.