Brazen bison won't stay home on the range in Lorette, Man.
Locals 'eating it up,' donning hoodies that say 'Run Freddy Run'
The buzz started about a month ago when a daily bison report began popping up on a Facebook group.
A bison had been escaping its pen on a farm off Highway 405 between Lorette and Ile des Chênes, Man.
Locals started posting updates on the situation, but it was no joke until Kevin Patton started to put some fun into the situation.
The 31-year-old Lorette man joked the bison on the loose was Freddy and the name just kind of stuck.
"He was a rascal from the start," Patton says.
"We don't have even a town mascot or anything like that, so this is kind of the beginning of something potentially.
"Everyone's eating it up."
The bison's owner declined an interview request but said the bison seems to be getting through a portion of an electric fence that isn't working properly.
"Freddys out. He is just outside his yard on river road," says one post with photos of the bison outside. Another post says "Bad Freddy," with a video of the buffalo out of its pen.
"And of course the bison are out again," says another post.
"People just ran with it. They have been having so much fun," said Liana Boily, the owner of Blooms n Balloons flower shop in Lorette.
If it's a girl, Freeda
So just who exactly is Freddy?
"He looks like a bison. You know I don't want to be insensitive but they all look the same, so I can't really say that he has any descriptive features," said Boily.
The belief from those who've seen the animal from afar is that Freddy is a boy but some have challenged that assumption.
"And then of course there's all kinds of speculation about what Freddy does in his free time. And what he's doing when he escapes. There's been talk of a bison cam — whether we're going to get a GoPro and find out what the rascal's up to."
She cautions any tourists who might read this story and try and get up close to Freddy for a photo.
"I think the main thing people need to remember is Freddy is not a pet. He is a large — you know, somewhat dangerous — animal."
Even people new to Lorette, a village of just under 3,000, are getting in on the Freddy buzz.
"I had a customer in here yesterday that I knew that I was discussing Freddy with and a young lady came in and she overheard our conversation and she says, 'I don't mean to be rude or interrupt, but I just moved to Lorette. Is his name really Freddy?'"
Dawna Massey owns the Dawson Trail Motor Inn where locals go for coffee.
"They all think it's hilarious. It's fun. It's getting a whole bunch of people that don't normally talk, talking."
All 10 from the first batch were already sold when CBC stopped by the community Thursday and there were requests to have a bilingual version of the sweater made.
The last publicly reported sighting of the bison outside its pen was on Wednesday, when it was captured in a photo running about a two-minute drive from the town's main drag near the farm it lives on.