By Sarah Tompkins Staff Writer
Los Lonely Boys took the Riverbend Festival’s Coca-Cola Stage on Wednesday night to an appreciative crowd, with band members strumming songs from their new album "Sacred" and making fans sway to the Grammy-winning hit single "Heaven."
Tina Faith, 35, said she knew the members of the San Angelo, Texas, group before they were mainstream icons. Mrs. Faith and her family moved to Chattanooga a year ago from San Angelo, where her mother managed a bar that gave the boys some of their first gigs, she said.
"A lot of people wouldn’t let them in because they were all kids," Mrs. Faith said. "You could tell that they were going to be where they are today. They had that ‘it’ factor."
However, her daughter, 6-year-old Faith King, was fixed on another event: the appearance of the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale Team.
"I want to pet it," she said of one of the horses. "It looks so cute." Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield was drawn to the animals, as well.
"I don’t care what office you hold," Mr. Littlefield said. "It’s easy to be intimidated by a Clydesdale. They are like royalty."
The 2,000-pound horses were scheduled to march through Riverbend’s main gate at 4:30 p.m., but the procession began about two hours later after grooming and harnessing.
The horses had their tails wrapped in tight buns tied with white and red bows. Five red and white cloth roses were perched between the braided manes.
A member of the handling crew, 28-year-old Amy Trout, said the preparations began at 7 a.m.
"Each horse individually will get ‘cuffing’ to get the dirt brought to the surface of the coat, and then we have a big vacuum to suck all the stuff we loosened up off," Ms. Trout said. "All the legs get washed so they stay bright white."
Ms. Trout said the shows last about 3 hours and 12 horses alternate as part of the eighthorse team to pull the hitch.
"Every horse gets days off like people get days off, at least two days a week," she said. "They are certainly the ‘who’s who’ of the horse world."
Ms. Trout estimated a few hundred people lined the street to see the team. Denny Hennen with Beasley Distributing Co. said the company is a Riverbend sponsor and works to get the Clydesdales to the festival each year. "When you go back to 1876 with the Clydesdales and the Anheuser-Busch family, their quality and freshness that they strive to achieve is represented in the Clydesdales," Mr. Hennen said.
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