Grown Here at Home: Hollins University preps for arrival of the Budweiser Clydesdales

Hollins University is hosting the Budweiser Clydesdales as they return for the St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown Roanoke.
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 9:32 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Budweiser Clydesdales are coming back to Roanoke for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Hollins University is hosting them during their stay, which means they’ve been busy.

“We have to displace 11 of our horses in some capacity while still being able to maintain some sort of a regular schedule while we do our regular riding classes and whatnot while they’re here. It’s going to be a little bit of a challenge, but we’re going to make it work,” explained Sherri West, director of riding and head coach of the equestrian team.

Several years ago, the Clydesdales were a regular guest at the stables.

“Back when the Roanoke Valley Horse Show took place at the Salem Civic Center, the Budweiser Clydesdales were a pretty regular fixture there and when they would make those trips to Roanoke, this would be their home base,: Sherri said.

The Clydesdales made their return to Hollins in 2020 for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. That event was cancelled, making this year’s visit extra special. It takes days to get everything in place, and the students play a big part in getting things ready.

“We utilize quite a bit of student labor with many of our work-study students. As we are cleaning out stalls and moving horses and doing any of the other cleanup and preparations our students will be integrally involved in that,” Sherri said.

Sherri’s not only excited to see the horses, but she can’t wait for the students to see the crew at work.

“They are methodical. They are the consummate professionals. There is a method and they are very efficient. They rolled in here and had everything set up in a matter of minutes,” Sherri explained.

The public won’t be able to stop by Hollins to see the Clydesdales. The riding center is a place for the horses to relax before they get to work.

You can see the Clydesdales in action at the Freedom First St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Shamrock Festival Saturday, March 12. The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. in downtown Roanoke.

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