In 1985, Harvey Wallbanger sprinted down the racetrack amongst a group of racehorses. Who exactly was he? Harvey was an orphan buffalo who thought he was a horse. His story is an interesting one! In fact, Harvey was quite a celebrity in his time.
It all began in 1980 when Harvey’s mother was shot by a poacher. Trainer and jockey Collin ‘TC’ Thorstenson took on the orphaned buffalo. TC would bottle feed the little guy in his car. As local interest sparked, Harvey was eventually invited to race against the Quarter Horses in Energy Downs.
He was one of the only racing buffalos of his time! Harvey would burst through the start gate and make his way to the rail. Because of his size and sounds, the competing horses were usually too afraid to get near him. He enjoyed success in American, Canada and Mexico with 79 races won out of 93 starts. In 1990, Harvey won a whopping $108,000 with 20 races.
Unfortunately, his story comes to a halt in 1991 when he ate some bad hay. TC was awarded $475,000 in damages by Kenny and Jimmy Murdock, the hay supplier. And while TC attempted to start over with another buffalo, Harvey Wallbanger Jr. wasn’t made for racing. He did end up developing a niche for acting though.
TC comments, “I could have trained 40 horses in the time I spent training Harvey. My buffalo aren’t just buffalo. They are family members.”
What a great story! History is filled with some amazing animals, such as these Top 10 Famous People And Their Horses.
You can watch Harvey run a race below: