The Clinch Mountain Boys. Photo by Markus Schmidt

RICHMOND — People called out from the crowd, “Let’s go Southwest,” and “Yeehaw” as the unit from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum from Bristol rolled into the inauguration parade. 

Braving the harsh wind, Ralph Stanley II and The Clinch Mountain Boys serenaded Gov. Glenn Youngkin with a tune that left the new governor tapping his feet.

The band, in all black, unloaded from the back of a truck and quickly set up their instruments. Stanley II walked up to the microphone. Just as he uttered a word, the crowd simmered down. 

“We are honored to be here today for our new governor of the state of Virginia,” said Stanley II “and I understand that he likes a good fiddle tune, so we’re going to give him one right here, this evening.”

He stood back and each musician held their stance ready to begin. The crowd got louder as they plucked at their instruments, setting the tone to the parade. 

Youngkin clapped his hands following the sound of the instruments. Seconds later he started to tap his foot. 

The group began to slow down the tempo and just as they did Youngkin held his clap, anticipating the moment the tune would pick up again, which it did.

Other participants  in the inaugural parade from the Southwest and Southside of Virginia included the Virginia Military Institute corps of cadets, the Virginia Tech corps of cadets, Brunswick Tourism, Martinsville Motor Speedway and the Spearhead Trails.

Brunswick Tourism walked the parade with “Stewie,” the Brunswick Stew mascot, showcasing the home of Brunswick Stew.

Martinsville Motor Speedway and Spearhead Trails, showcased vehicles for the parade. The speedway celebrated its 75th anniversary and brought in a pace and race car. The Spearhead Trails brought a convoy of all-terrain vehicles with trail flags displayed in the front.

Kaytlin Nickens

Kaytlin Nickens served as a reporter for VCU's Capital News Service, where she was featured on PBS "This Week in Richmond." In 2019, the Society of Professional Journalists recognized her as a finalist...