Carolina Camera: Catching a wave from ‘The Big Man’

It would be hard to guess just how many drivers along busy Interstate 85 in Davidson County have seen The Big Man, but it’s clearly in the millions.

You can’t miss him; he’s a giant of a man, 18 feet of pure fiberglass, with a hat and beard and a big hand waving to all who pass by.

The Big Man as he’s known – or some call him Billy Bob – stands outside Bill’s Truck Stop in Linwood. For 33 years, he’s been inviting all to come and visit, whether it be to fill up the tank or fill up their stomach.

Anchored to the ground and strapped in tight between two huge metal poles, the big guy is a bit weathered but has withstood all the elements and everything else that has come his way over the years.

There was actually another big man before him, put up in 1968 when Bill’s first opened. But that one had been put there by the gasoline distributor, which took him down when Bill’s switched to another distributor.

Folks had gotten used to seeing the big man, so Bill’s ordered another one. Yes, there’s a company that makes big guys like this. It’s in Rocky Mount, and that may be another story in itself!

So the next time you pass by Bill’s along I-85, be sure to wave at the big guy. He may not be a man of many words, but for sure, he’ll wave back at you.


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