The booming voice of Big Tex, the 55-foot-tall icon of the State Fair of Texas, will sound different from now on. Robert “Bob” Boykin, the voice of Big Tex for the last seven years, has died.
The State Fair of Texas released a statement Monday announcing his death.
Selected from more than 150 applicants after the 2012 fair, it was Boykin’s lifelong dream to be the voice of Big Tex, said his wife, Terri.
“People have bucket list items of things they want to do in their life,” Terri Boykin said in a statement. “Bob never dreamed he would have the opportunity to voice Big Tex, but he was able to finish that item. He lived his dream.”
Boykin, 73, was the sixth person to voice the cowboy, and took over after the fair fired the previous voice of Big Tex.
Anonymous while working, Boykin was known to chat with fairgoers during his breaks and enjoyed watching the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and large crowds walk by Big Tex. He was especially fond of the looks on the faces of children as they saw Big Tex for the first time, according to the fair’s statement.
The statue of Big Tex first came to Dallas in 1952 and has greeted millions of people at the State Fair for decades. Big Tex was originally a Santa Claus in Kerens, Texas, before being purchased for roughly $750 in today’s money.
Boykin was born in Dallas and raised in Richardson. He put himself through the University of Texas at Arlington by working as an announcer for Green Valley Raceway.
He later joined the United States Marine Corps and worked at Lockheed Martin for more than 40 years. Boykin helped design the stealth bomber and F-16, and led tours around the Fort Worth facility for international dignitaries. He was also a lifetime member of the Shriners fraternity.
Boykin was buried with honors Jan. 29 at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
“Thank you for bringing so much joy and life to our iconic cowboy, Bob. We will miss you deeply,” the fair said.
Details about the search for a new voice for Big Tex will be announced in the next couple of months.