Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Opinion

Brooksville trainer was key to Super Bowl Clydesdale commercial

As Super Bowl commercials go, this one was nearly perfect. A 60-second story of the relationship between a Budweiser Clydesdale and the trainer who raised him.

It was beautifully filmed and poignantly told without a single word of dialogue. Practically every moment and emotion were based in heart-tugging reality.

Except for the bit at the end about the horse running through the streets of Chicago to find his trainer — that was actually Los Angeles.

And the trainer wasn't real — that was an actor.

And the horse wasn't even running to the actor — he was running to trainer Tommie Turvey of Brooksville.

Otherwise, it was totally authentic.

"Did I tell too many Hollywood secrets?" Turvey says, grinning while sitting outside the barn of his ranch not far from the Suncoast Parkway.

If director Jake Scott took some storytelling liberties, he is certainly forgiven. In an off year for Super Bowl ads, the horse tale called Brotherhood was one of the few to earn wide acclaim.

Set to the backdrop of Fleetwood Mac's Landslide, the commercial takes viewers through the relationship of a Clydesdale and his mentor. It establishes their bond from the time the horse is born until the moment he is shipped off to be part of Budweiser's team.

Three years later, the trainer ventures to Chicago to see the Clydesdales in a parade. The horse spots his old friend and runs through an empty downtown street for a tear-worthy reunion.

And the hidden star behind it all is a 43-year-old trainer, performer and stuntman who was counting on a quiet winter until the Budweiser folks called in mid December and asked if he was interested in training some of the world's most famous horses.

"I have nothing but respect for the Budweiser Clydesdale men and women. They're great horse people," said Turvey, whose own horses have appeared in films and TV shows such as The Walking Dead. "The only reason they didn't do the training is they don't have the specialty that I do. Not a lot of people do the sort of work I do."

Specifically, Turvey was needed to train the horses to follow directions without physical guidance.

So he flew to Missouri to pick out which horses to use — a total of eight were chosen — and then he and his wife, Chantal, left for Los Angeles on Christmas Day to begin two weeks of training before the three-day shoot.

Scenes that appear effortless — the Clydesdale running alongside a truck — had to be rehearsed day after day to get the horse comfortable running so close to a pursuit vehicle with a mounted camera.

There were also the discussions of how to make the commercial as realistic as possible while hitting all the right emotions. An extended version of the commercial better explains how the trainer stayed with the horse in the barn while it was sick.

"No bond or trust is more easily attained than nursing a sick animal back," Turvey said. "The Budweiser people were adamant about maintaining integrity, but the director explained he had a story to tell and a point to get across.

"From my perspective, if a horse is running free down Wilshire Boulevard, somebody is getting fired. But from the standpoint of a commercial, I thought it all worked."

It would certainly seem that way. At last check, the commercial had more than 8 million views on YouTube.

Comments

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Floridaís juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scottís administration was defensive and obtuse. So itís welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over stateís rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week wonít make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, itís obvious that Jeff Vinikís plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trumpís risky move

President Donald Trumpís decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israelís capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampaís MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough Countyís Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Voters in Temple Terrace, Plant City and Thonotosassa have an easy choice in the Dec. 19 special election to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who resigned for health reasons. Republican Lawrence McClure is the only credible candidate.McClure, 30, ow...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17