Deciding to open a barbeque trailer wasn’t in Providence resident Randy LaNeve’s long term plans, but it was a career change that became necessary due to a progressing medical condition.
After putting in more than 30 years as a Journeyman Tool and Die Maker/Machinists, earlier this year LaNeve found himself unable to stand. He took time off work, but the rest didn’t improve his condition.
“My chances of returning to full time work are slim, but knowing I’m still capable of helping financially contribute to my family, I approached my wife about buying a food trailer,” he said. “I’ve always loved to BBQ and cook about anything, and I love trying new food.”
LaNeve opened Big R’s BBQ and Grill in Providence two weeks ago. His trailer is parked in front of Cole Plaza on Westerfield Drive, where he plans to be opened on Fridays.
LaNeve’s career change came at the end of an ordeal that started with a a ruptured disc in 2004, when he was working at a Die Casting plant in Henderson. Surgery relieved the pain in his legs, but triggered pain in his back.
“I just learned to tough it out and keep going,” he said. “In 2007 I noticed I was having a lot of pain in my right arm and by the summer of 2008 I had lost around 70 percent of the use of my right thumb.”
An MRI revealed a bulging disc and a narrowing of the nerve canals.
“It was believed to have been the result of a headfirst fall from a deer stand,” he explained. “We originally thought it had only left me with a few bruises and a gash on my head.”
In August of 2008 LaNeve underwent neck surgery, which helped with some of the problems. He went on with his life for the next ten years.
“In April of 2018 the embarrassing part begins,” LeNeve said. “While mowing my yard for the first time of the year, I hung my mower up when the back right tire slipped of the edge of a steep embankment.”
Rather than getting help pulling the mower out, he made the decision to try to ride the mower clear.
“I had to put my left knee on the seat to keep it running and my right foot slipped, making me fall on the left side controls, which spun me around a threw me off the hill onto my left arm and left side of my head, dislocating my left shoulder,” LaNeve said. “I didn’t know it at the time, but I reinjured my neck.”
Within a week he quickly began feeling the changes from the injury. By the end of July he was having severe pain in his arm and was having trouble using the thumb, index finger and middle finger of his right hand.
He had surgery in September, which relieved some of the pain in his back, but did nothing for his right hand. Doctors estimate that the nerve damage is so bad that he’s lost roughly 75 percent usage of his thumb, index finger and ring finger on that hand.
After leaving work earlier this year, he knew his chances of returning to work were very low. But he still wanted to be able to help provide for his family rather than taking disability and drawing a check.
He said when he first approached his wife, Shelly Travis LaNeve about openeing the food trailer, she didn’t take him seriously. But after spending some time looking at trailers, and seeing how he reacted to one they located in Bowling Green, she was onboard.
“Currently, due to my condition, we are only going to be able to open on Friday, June 28 at our location at Cole plaza and July 4th at the Independence Day celebration at the Golf Course,” LaNeve said. “I plan on having all popular bbq items on hand most days I’m open. Pulled pork, ribs, brisket and such, along with grilled chicken and pork loin sandwiches! We started out with a variety and will tweak the menu a bit to replace some of the less popular stuff.”
After the July 4 event, LaNeve will be taking a break as he is scheduled for surgery on July 8 for a Laminoforaminotomy on 2 levels and the removal of a Synovial Cyst from another level. Once he is recovered, he plans to reopen.
“Hopefully after recovering I will be able to hire some extra help and be open a few more days a week,” LaNeve said. “With support from the community like I’ve had so far, who knows! Maybe we could find a permanent location and be open six or seven days a week.”
For the time being, he is just happy with the response he’s gotten so far.
“I’ve been completely blown away by the love and support my hometown of Providence and the surrounding county have shown me on the first two open days of this new venture of ours,” LaNeve said. “I hope we can turn it in to something everyone loves!”
Big R’s will be open this Thursday at the Providence July 4th Celebration.
Reach MATT HUGHES
at 270-667-2068 or