'Big Rome' Kimbrough (second from left), son of UofL employee Ralph Kimbrough, will appear on 'America's Got Talent' with his group, Linkin' Bridge.
'Big Rome' Kimbrough (second from left), son of UofL employee Ralph Kimbrough, will appear on 'America's Got Talent' with his group, Linkin' Bridge.

Cardinal Nation may want to tune in to NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. to check out the performance by Linkin’ Bridge. The singing group from the west end of Louisville includes “Big Rome” Kimbrough, son of “Big Ralph” Kimbrough, who has worked as a laborer in Physical Plant for nearly 38 years.

“I’ve worked here a long time, I think I’m known pretty well,” Ralph said. “I’ve been to every building on every campus.”

'Big Ralph' Kimbrough has been with UofL since 1979.
‘Big Ralph’ Kimbrough has been with UofL since 1979.

Big Ralph said he isn’t nervous about the show; he believes his son and three choir mates, Montre Davis, Shon China Lacy and Ekoe Alexanda, have a great chance of winning the reality show talent competition. If they make it to the finals, he’ll even consider flying out to Los Angeles, although he’s admittedly afraid of flying.

“My son, he always thinks he’s got a chance to win. That’s not him being boastful, just confident,” Ralph said. “You know something; he’s always been singing. He would sing in school, on Sundays in church. He sings at funerals and weddings. He would sing in school plays and I could always tell his voice … I have to go with him winning.”

Big Ralph said his son is a “UofL fan all the way.” It helps that his dad has been a fixture on campus for so long as a laborer, moving furniture, cleaning up from renovations, laying carpet and much more. He has enjoyed every bit of his time on campus.

“I love working at UofL. They’ve been very good to me,” he said. “I’ve had my ups and downs but the university has always been good to me and my family.”

Now in his mid-60s, Big Ralph plans on retiring in early 2018. When that happens, he said he’ll spend time sitting on his front porch and talking to his neighbors, traveling a little, and hanging out with his grandchildren, three of whom are Big Rome’s and who also enjoy singing.

“Everyone in my family can sing. I can hold a note, but I’m more of a follower,” Ralph said. “That’s why this is exciting. If (Big Rome) doesn’t win, our arms are wide open for him to come home. He’ll keep on singing. I’m very proud of him.”

According to the Linkin’ Bridge bio on the “America’s Got Talent” website, the group is best known for its “warm harmonies and emotional performances. Whether on stage, on a corner, in a church of at a doorstep, these guys deliver power and conviction driven by their passion to unite the world through music and love.”

Photo from Linkin’ Bridge’s Facebook page

Alicia Kelso
Alicia Kelso is the director of social media and digital content. She joined UofL in 2015 as director of communications at the Brandeis School of Law. She also serves as a senior contributor at Forbes.com, writing about the restaurant industry, which she has covered since 2010. Her work has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Bloomberg, The Seattle Times, Good Morning America and Franchise Asia Magazine.