Vinny Hickerson is no stranger to the stage, although The Biggest Loser‘s millions of viewers has to be the biggest crowd he has ever played to. Big Vinny, as he’s known to his fans, and his partner, Butter (Marc Fortney) make up the duo Trailer Choir. In addition to several other impressive credits on the band’s resume, Trailer Choir contributed a track to the soundtrack for Toby Keith’s 2006 movie, Beer for My Horses. Pretty cool stuff.
Vinny isn’t focused on his music right now, though. With a starting weight of 426 lbs., he has plenty of pain and work and heartbreak ahead of him; but, if he can come through on the other side, he is sure to be one of those contestants who knows just what to do with a new lease on life. Instead of “Rocking the Beer Gut,” he’ll be rocking a six pack of a different kinds at the Biggest Loser finale. Check out this video of one the Trailer Choir songs that made it to the charts to see what I’m talking about. (The woman in the group is Crystal Hoyt, who is no longer with the band.)
But to really see Vinny do his thing, you have to check out this video of “Off the Hillbilly Hook,” the song that Trailer Choir contributed to the Beer For My Horses soundtrack. (And you can check out a little footage from the movie while you’re at it!)
According to an interview he gave to Countryweekly.com, the event that woke Vinny up to the seriousness of his unhealthy weight was being hospitalized on Superbowl Sunday of last year for an infection triggered by his diabetes. Until then, he hadn’t realized that his weight was a life-threatening problem; but, after that hospitalization, he knew he had some big changes to make. According to his bio on the NBC website, Vinny looks back to childhood trauma to help him understand how he managed to let himself get so big and unhealthy. Vinny’s abusive stepfather and his addictions certainly didn’t do Vinny any good. Neither did all the nay-sayers that told him that his weight would keep him from having success in the music business.
Vinny is on the “Young” team in BL 12’s “Battle of the Ages,” so he’s wearing red and working with one of this season’s new trainer’s, Dolvett Quince. In the first challenge, the contestants had to run a mile with their teammates, all of them holding onto a bar that would become their flagpole. Vinny struggled, and his weight really seemed to be making movement and balance tough for him. (Can you imagine what 426 lbs. would feel like on your knees and ankles? I can’t.) But, he crossed the finish line and even had enough gas left to run back and show solidarity with the “Old” team. Good going, Vinny, and good luck. We’re rooting for you.