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Big Bird, who helped thousands of children during Christmas, dies at 65

Updated: Feb 25, 2021

HENRY COUNTY, VA – The Martinsville and Henry County community has lost a local legend and icon.

Ricky “Big Bird” Holcomb passed away Thursday at the age of 65.

Holcomb could be found at his shop, Big Bird's Big Twins on Greensboro Road in Ridgeway, helping motorcycle lovers repair or customize their rides.

He was most notably known for helping thousands of children during Christmas.

For 25 years, Holcomb led riders and drivers from the seat of his favorite Harley-Davidson motorcycle for the annual Big Bird’s Toy Run, which helps provide toys for needy children and their families.

The event is a caravan of motorcycles and other vehicles, with participants making donations to benefit Christmas Cheer, an organization that provides presents and food to families who need it most.

Holcomb’s birthday is on Christmas Eve.

“That’s why he has a special place in his heart for kids and Christmas,” said his wife Paige Holcomb. “He’s a Christmas baby.”

In 2010, he suffered a stroke and other health issues that took a huge toll on Big Bird's body.

As he fought his way back to health, a motorcycle crash in 2013 “took him back a notch,” his wife said.

Big Bird continued to fight and would often make appearances at the toy ride.

Chad Hall, BTW21's marketing director, became the event's coordinator in 2017 and pledged to keep Big Bird's name on it.

Ricky Holcomb's legacy of helping others, especially children, will live on for years to come.

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