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Blake Shelton: His Mascot Buford

When Blake Shelton recently became embroiled in a controversy over remarks he aimed, in jest, at the animal activist group PETA, many of his fans quickly came to his defense.

But they also know that the avid hunter and relentless smart-aleck has a soft spot for certain animals—such as his mascot, Buford, a stuffed toy bull. Fan Chastity Gingo shared with CW how Buford ended up in Blake’s life—and the lives of many of his fans.

Members of Blake’s fan club, after hearing about the “guitar monkey” symbol associated with country star Keith Urban, felt that Blake deserved the same. “[We] decided we wanted Blake to have a mascot, also,” explains Chastity, “and since his initials are B.S., that can mean . . . well, you-know-what. [So] we decided the mascot should be a bull!” Fellow fan Donna Durham, from Broken Arrow, Okla., landed on the name Buford, and it stuck. “It just sounds ‘redneck country,’” notes Chastity.

At Blake’s 2007 CMA Music Festival fan club party, the bull was presented to the genial star, whom his followers jokingly refer to as “Buford’s daddy.” Later, a group of fans devised an online calendar that allows individuals to sign up as “foster parents” to the little guy. “Whoever wants Buford for a show checks the calendar,” explains Chastity, “and whoever has him sends him on to the next person scheduled on the calendar. He really has become like a small celebrity [because of] all the traveling he does around the country. Blake is pretty much used to seeing him now, and he just laughs and shakes his head when a fan brings him to a show,” says Chastity.

When Chastity herself carried the plushy critter to a meet-and-greet with Blake in Tampa, Fla., “He had the biggest grin on his face,” she recalls. “[He] asked me, ‘Is Buford behaving himself?’ and I said, ‘Nope—he is just like his daddy!’ Blake busted out with the biggest laugh!”

Watch the video featuring Buford