Christopher Rosacker

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September 18, 2013
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Star steeds at the 2013 Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair

Tommie Turvey’s horse was eaten alive by zombies on the streets of Atlanta.

The whole thing was caught on film and broadcast to millions of viewers.

The grueling scene was part of the climax of the first episode of the hit AMC television horror drama, “The Walking Dead.” Turvey’s horse, Blade, played the lead character’s doomed steed. Blade, 12, is a mustang that has appeared in six films and television shows, Turvey said. But this weekend he’ll be entertaining audiences of the 27th annual Draft Horse Classic and Harvest Fair at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.

“I’m looking forward to Tommy Turvey,” said Wendy Oaks, publicist for the Nevada County Fairgrounds. “We are very excited to welcome him here. He’ll be performing each day.”

Billed as the premier draft horse show in the West, the Draft Horse Classic offers four days of thundering giant horses, beginning today.

There are six different breeds of draft horses, with varying characteristics, but all share common traits of strength, patience and a docile temperament, Oaks said.

In America, draft horses helped expand farming as the sturdy animals became the primary power on farms, pulling everything from plows to heavy wagons loaded with produce, according to Oaks.

This year, some 160 horses will come for the Draft Horse Classic, scheduled through Sunday. The classic spotlights a variety of horses, teams, rigs and performances, featuring everything from farm wagons, carriages and driving competitions to dancing horses and racing mules. In between classes, specialty shows, such as Turvey’s, will entertain the crowds.

“I’m trying to attract and get everybody’s attention as far as respecting horses and what they are capable of,” said Turvey, who himself has appeared in dozens of television shows and movies, including “The Dark Knight,” the second of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies starring Christian Bale as the title character.

In the movie, Turvey had his horse appear startled by gunshots during a Joker-interrupted funeral procession scene.

Turvey also worked on Budwieser’s most recent Super Bowl segment.

“We are all aware a horse knows how to drive and pull a wagon really good,” Turvey said. “We show how a horse can lay down really good, and doing an act, choreographed to music.”

In addition to showcasing horses, Turvey’s Australian cattle dog, Maverick, will appear in some of the acts, he said.

“My training is with all different breeds of horses, whether miniature or large draft” Turvey said. My abilities with horse have taken me to national finals in Vegas or to classic horse shows.”

Also taking place at the fairgrounds during the four days of the classic is the Harvest Fair, which features musical entertainment, a clogging jamboree, Treat Street goodies, Art at the Classic, horseshoeing demonstrations, a chance to visit with the horses and hundreds of community exhibits, Oaks said. On Saturday, the Bounty of the County will also take place.

Sponsored by Nevada County Grown, Bounty of the County pairs local chefs and barbecue experts with the produce and meats of Nevada County Grown farmers and ranchers.

On Sunday, the third annual Classic Barbecue Cook-Off will also take place. Barbecue experts are slated to show off their cooking skills.

Purchase tickets by calling the fairgrounds office at 530-273-6217 or visiting the fairgrounds’ website at

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call (530) 477-4236.

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The Union Updated Sep 23, 2013 03:39PM Published Sep 20, 2013 09:33PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.