The following information was obtained from newspaper reports, personal knowledge and the book “Hidden History of Henderson County” by Terry Ruscin.
Billy McCrary and Benny McCrary were identical twins from Hendersonville who gained international fame as pro wrestlers, mini-bike stunt riders and world record holders.
At their peak, the McCrary twins cumulatively weighed 1,598 pounds and held the world record as the heaviest twins.
A Life magazine photographer took a photograph of the twins riding mini-bikes one year at the N.C. Apple Festival in Hendersonville. Persons with the Guinness Book of World Records noticed the photograph.
They did a Honda promotion, riding mini-bikes 3,000 miles from New York to Los Angeles, where they appeared on the “Tonight Show.”
Wrestling coach Gory Guerrero met them when they rode through Texas and trained them as pro wrestlers.
“Of course, we didn’t take bumps like the average wrestler,” Benny McCrary remembered in a 1998 interview for Inside Wrestling magazine. “So he worked out a routine for us. Guys run against us and fall down. They come in and try to give us a body slam, we turn around and give them one.”
When pro wrestlers they were known as the “McGuire Twins” and traveled the world seven times. They were undefeated tag team champions for 14 years.
Billy McCrary died in 1979 at age 32 from injuries sustained in a mini-bike stunt in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Benny McCrary, 54, died of heart failure in 2001 at Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville.
There is a 13-foot-wide memorial at Crab Creek Baptist Church Cemetery that holds the record as the world’s largest gravestone. The 3-ton granite monument was inscribed with two Honda mini-bikes and the words, “World Record Holders.”
Maxim magazine featured the twins’ grave site in a 2005 article titled, “Hit the Road,” which featured 25 unusual tourist destinations across the country. The tombstone also shows up on the Web site, roadsideamerica.com, “an online guide to offbeat tourist attractions.”
Born less than two minutes apart on Dec. 7, 1946, the McCrary brothers were identical twins in every way. They were normal sized toddlers, buy by age 10, they weighed 200 pounds.
Their father decided to put them to work to lose weight. The twins became truck farmers, selling vegetables they’d grown out of the back of their ’53 Chevrolet pick-up.
But the hard work of farming wasn’t enough to keep the weight off. Both twins weighed 600 pounds by age 16, when they dropped out of East Henderson High School. By the time they were 22, Benny weighed 814 pounds and Billy weighed 784, earning them the title of the “World’s Heaviest Twins” in 1968.
After his brother Billy died in 1979, Benny McCrary continued wrestling for a while, but eventually moved back to Henderson County. He opened a pawn shop. In 1998, he moved to his wife’s hometown of Walkertown, near Winston-Salem, where he worked with the Christian Golfer’s Ministry at Pine Knolls Golf Course.