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A Buffalo fan for all seasons finds one way to stay on top of the game

A former North Tonawandan is marketing a distinctive, all-purpose sports hat.

It has horns with polar fleece that snap on and off, fake fur and cotton lining.

"It's a fun way to show your Buffalo pride," Kevin Dean said. "They're goofy or cute or show a Buffalo swagger, depending on who's wearing them."

The Best Ever Buffalo Hat -- appropriate for Sabres or Bills fans -- was designed by Dean's wife, Carey Bennett, costume designer for NBC's "The Office" and "Scrubs," which run back-to-back Thursday nights.

Dean, 44, a graduate of Sweet Home High School who left the area about 20 yeas ago, works as a key grip in movies and television, most recently "The Bernie Mac Show." They live in Burbank, Calif.

"She knows how I feel about my sports town and Western New York in general, and the hat was meant as a tribute to the pride I feel for my hometown," Dean said. "My family went crazy -- they loved them.

"They prodded us to make more for their friends and started wearing them to sports games."

The reaction the hat received at Sabres games, Dean said, persuaded him and his wife to make 1,000 and market them here.

The hat is sold on their Web site, besteverbuffalo.com., where they retail for $25 plus shipping and handling. Poster Art, 1055 Elmwood Ave., sells them for $29.95.

"I wish I had thought of them," said J.C. Steffenhagen, a Blasdell resident who bought two hats at the poster shop on a recent day. "Not only can you use them for the Bills and Sabres, but if you want to dress up as Fred [Flintstone] or Barney [Rubble], you can do that too."

An airier version of the hat for summer use is also planned.

e-mail: msommer@buffnews.com

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