December 5, 2022

Dawson County Journal

Dawson County, Nebraska

Orange Zone: Broncos fan fought death so much he became it

We’re highlighting the best of the best in Broncos country and this week’s super fan has stared death in the face and won.

Jesse Esquibel, aka, “Bronco Reaper,” walks more than 15,000 steps every home game

“Its what a super fan does,” Esquibel said. “Its not just to dress up and take pictures but we hype up that crowd and get them ready.”

Halloween first inspired the reaper costume but when Esquibel’s health started declining he said he fought death so much he became it

“After I kind of realized that I wasn’t scary and that I could actually get people not to be so scared of death,” he said. “I went out and just started telling my story.”

His story dated back to 19 years ago when Esquibel started having debilitating seizures and several heart attacks after he contracted West Nile Encephalitis.

“I had brain surgery to remove my temporal lobe in 2007,” Esquibel said.

The surgery didn’t help his seizures and he ended up on life support about five years later.

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Jesse Esquibel  

“I found that we die here mentally and then later physically,” he said. “So if we can keep a positive attitude and a mentality, we have a better chance on actually surviving.”

And that’s what got him through along with his love for the Broncos. In the last 18 years, he’s never missed a training camp. In August of this year, he had another surgery and was at camp four days later.

His dedication was recognized in 2022 when Esquibel was the only NFL fan from Colorado nominated for the Ford Hall of Fans at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

One of his favorite Broncos, Steve Atwater, made the surprise announcement

“It took me a second to sort of comprehend what actually was happening,” Esquibel said. 

“It really is amazing,” said Atwater.” I’ve heard some amazing stories from super fans. The Reaper and his situation is super special.”

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Jesse Esquibel

Esquibel didn’t win the national award but his dedication to his favorite team and the fans has never wavered. This super fan has fans of his own so he volunteers at hospitals and nursing homes.

“Usually you’re afraid of death but for just a split second you’re not with me,” he said. “You actually get that freedom of not being afraid of death and just embracing the Broncos.”


Source: Rocky Mountain News