Livin’ Large

Ok, all you children of the 70s, quick question…

If you spent as much time as I did during the pre-teen years poring over the Guinness Book of World Records, what single image is still burned into your brain?

$100 says it’s this one:

Benny and Billy McCrary on their motorcycles
Image source: http://www.cojoweb.com/McCrary-twins.html

Here are some interesting facts about Benny and Billy McCrary, the World’s Largest Twins (source material: here and here, more photos here):

  • Benny maxed out at 814 lbs. Billy never crossed the 800 lb. barrier, opting instead to keep his weight at a svelte 784 lbs.
  • Backed by Honda and Holiday Inn, Benny and Billy rode Honda mini-bikes cross-country. They took 30 days to ride from New York to Los Angeles.
  • During the cross-country mini-bike odyssey, Benny and Billy met professional wrestler Gory Guerrero in El Paso, Tx.
  • Once their mini-bike trip concluded, Benny and Billy embarked on a career as professional tag-team wrestlers, initially under the tutelage of said Gory Guerrero.
  • They trained about two months in Mexico and began wrestling there, often in bullrings.
  • From there, they went to work with Dory Funk Sr. in Amarillo, Texas.
  • Later, they worked for Leroy McGuirk in Oklahoma City and in Nashville.
  • After that, they were pretty seasoned and hit the road.
  • In Japan, they switched from being the McCrary Twins to the McGuire Twins. “The announcers would have trouble with it. They would pronounce it Queary and we’d say, ‘We ain’t no queers.’
  • One of Benny and Billy’s signature wrestling moves, “The Big Splash”, had an occasional unsavory result. Benny would pin an opponent, and then, according to Benny, “…then Billy would come sit on top of me. I’ve had wrestlers poo-poo in their pants from the weight.” (Wow, too much information)
  • Benny and Billy appeared in Vegas where they played trumpets and told jokes with 400-pound go-go dancers.
  • Billy died of injuries after a mini-bike stunt gone wrong in Niagara Falls.
  • After Billy died in 1979, Benny teamed up with other wrestlers, including Andre the Giant, before retiring from the sport.
  • Benny later opened up a pawn shop.
  • Another random tidbit of information is that Benny and Billy McCrary are natives of Hendersonville, NC, where I just happened to be last weekend for day 1 of the Southeast’s only UCI sanctioned cyclocross races. The less that is said of my performance in the 35+ event the better. Suffice it to say that 5 hours of sleep, a 20 minute warmup, and training one day a week for the entire year are not conducive to podium appearances. More along the order of “please don’t lap me”. But regardless of my form, I do love racing.

    Anyway, between the finish of my race and the start of the Elite Men’s event was an approximate 2 hour window which I dutifully spent riding to Benny’s and Billy’s final resting spot (Crab Creek Baptist Church Cemetery: 72 Jeter Mountain Road - about 9 miles southwest of downtown Hendersonville) where I paid my respects.

    Even in death, they’ve set yet another world record: the world record for the largest granite tombstone, weighing in at about 3 tons:

Imagine for a moment an alternate universe. A parallel dimension where instead of meeting Gory Guerrero in El Paso, Benny and Billy ran into a certain legendary six-day pro/promoter Patrick Sercu:

Sercu: Listen, Gory Guerrero’s got nothin’ to offer. NOTHING. This so called ‘Rasslin’ is not a sport. It’s fake. On the other hand, professional six-day bike races are honest athletic endeavors devoid of any illusion of fraud or scripted outcome…
Billy: That’s not what I heard.
Sercu: Now where did you rubes get that idea? Hear me out…How would you like an eternal diet of complimentary beer and frites…
Benny: Wait, I know all about beer, but what the hell are freets?
Sercu: Uh, gloriously fried, golden, crispy, salted potatoes. I believe you call them of all things “French Fries” here. But we use mayo, not ketchup.
Benny: Ooh, that sounds good. Me and Billy can’t live on beer alone.
Billy: At least not for extended periods of time.
Sercu: Right…Anyway, as I was saying, you’ll have a chance to race your mini-bikes - umm…actually we call them dernies…but no matter - all over Europe, ogle oodles of show girls, take in a non-stop disco music soundtrack each night, and most importantly, you’ll be guaranteed a place in six-day lore and legend. I can’t seem to find any Yanks who can cut it in Europe indoors on track bikes. Instead, this land has an uncanny knack for producing men larger than anyplace on the planet. But Benny and Billy, you two win the fat-ass crown hands-down.
Benny and Billy: Amen to that, brother!
Sercu: Damn, I’ve got about 20 Euro speedsters itching to draft such a doughy dynamic duo like you two. And my-oh-my, draft they will. Why don’t you both sign right here on the dotted line…And then we leave for Belgium.

Feast your eyes on what may have transpired in hallowed indoor velodrome venues such as Dortumund or Copenhagen or Zurich or Munich or Grenoble or Ghent. Benny and Billy…you missed your true calling.

Comments (18) to “Livin’ Large”

  1. Nice post. All the times I have raced cross in Hendersonville and I had no idea. what a disaster, so close, yet so far. And yes, that is the first image that pops to mind from the book of world records.

  2. Holy moly, check this out:

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news.php?id=news/2006/nov06/nov26news2

    Sad.

  3. […] [link] […]

  4. Bravo! What a clever write-up. And yes, I do remember that picture. Do they even print the GBOWR any more?

  5. THEY ARE SO FAT

  6. OMG… they r so fat and big!!!!!!!! I never knew about them either.

  7. I used to make clothes for Benny and Billy—my family and I have wonderful memories of them…they were good men and had great personalities…They used to give my youngest son a “ride” on their tummies–just rock him back and forth~~~like a water bed motion…he loved it and them! we all have missed them for a long time…

  8. You are very precise with all the promoters of these twins, but I’ve never read anywhere about their very first adventure into the entertainment business - before the motorcycles and wrestling. My father was the first to take them away from their farm. I am writing a story about it. This happened in the late 1960’s. Just thought you may want to know. I am limiting my information until my story is finished. I’m not sure where to try to get the story published.
    Thank you!
    Debra

  9. God bless thier soal.

  10. i remember when i was a little kid i went to michagan with my mom and dad to watch benny and billy i loved those two guys they were the best god bless them and thier family

  11. one more comment just because you look at them as big obese fat huge whatever name you come up with i can come up with more loving heartfelt giving caring kindness gentle i remember watching these two men wrestle when i was a child with my dad we loved them god hold them in his hand love rox

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