Robert "Bob" Boykin, who was the most recent person who did the voice of the State Fair "Big Tex" mascot, has died.
According to a release from the State Fair of Texas, he died on January 23.
A Dallas native who grew up in Richardson, Boykin worked as an announcer for Green Valley Raceway to put himself through college at Arlington State College (now known as the University of Texas at Arlington.) He joined the United States Marine Corps and eventually settled into a more than 40-year career at Lockheed Martin.
The release quotes his wife who says that Boykin's lifelong dream was to be the voice of Big Tex.
"People have bucket list items of things they want to do in their life. Bob never dreamed he would have the opportunity to voice Big Tex. But he was able to finish that item. He lived his dream," says Terri Boykin, his wife of more than 10 years.
Bob voiced the iconic cowboy for the past seven years anonymously. The release doesn't say so, but anonymity had to have been part of the deal, following the sad case of Bill Bragg, the previous voice of Big Tex, who was dismissed in March 2013 after having been at the job since 2002.
After he got canned, Bragg revealed that he had made a recording for State Fair president Mitch Glieber to help his son get a date for the prom in 2012, then made it worse by pleading publicly to get his job back.
So yeah, anonymity was probably definitely part of the deal.
Bragg's predecessor was radio announcer Jim Lowe, who held the job for 39 years. The other three Big Tex voice guys were Al Jones, Dan Alexander, and Sonny Ray Stolz.
Boykin was buried in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, with honors, on January 29, 2020 and a celebration of life was held for him this past weekend in Kaufman, Texas.
Details about the process of finding a new voice for Big Tex will be announced in the coming months.