Big Tex Voice Silenced
Voice of Big Tex confronts State Fair of Texas president to get his job back
UPDATE: State Fair of Texas president Mitchell Glieber responded to Bragg's statement, saying, "Mr. Bragg's recollection of the conversation is completely inaccurate in terms of content and tone. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not speak to people that way, and I never once raised my voice with him."
State Fair of Texas spokeswoman Karissa Condoianis said that Bragg was not an employee of the State Fair, and therefore he was not fired. "He was an independent contractor whose contract was not renewed more than two years ago, and therefore both sides moved on," she said.
"There have been six voices over the life of Big Tex, and some of their contracts have not been renewed for various reasons. As has been our often-stated position for the past two years, the State Fair has no plans to make a change for the voice of Big Tex at this time. We will have no other comment on this matter. We are busy preparing for the upcoming fair and want to keep our focus on that."
Two years after his termination, Bill Bragg, the former "voice of Big Tex," has revived his campaign to get his job back in time for the 2015 State Fair of Texas.
Bragg went to Fair Park last week and "begged for forgiveness" from State Fair of Texas president Mitch Glieber but claims that Glieber shut him down because of a revelation Bragg made about using his services for personal gain.
According to Bragg, he made a recording for Glieber to help his son get a date for the prom back in 2012. After Bragg was fired, he revealed this to WFAA reporter Brett Shipp, putting Glieber in an awkward position.
The State Fair of Texas did not respond to a request for a comment.
Bragg is neither the first nor longest voice of Big Tex. His predecessor, radio announcer Jim Lowe, said "Howdy, folks!" for 39 years. Bragg had the job for 13 years — but he took his role very very seriously, doing consulting voiceovers and strutting around in Big Tex-style ensembles. It was his everything.
He was let go in March 2013, which a State Fair spokesperson said was due to "personnel issues" that she could not discuss.
In 2014, Bragg said the State Fair folks promised to revisit the topic "in four or five years," but he took that as another way of saying they didn't intend to hire him again. But now the 2015 fair has returned and so has his campaign.
Bragg, who has definitely learned how to use social media effectively, says on his Facebook page that after trying to reach Glieber via phone, message, text, and email, he went to the State Fair of Texas offices on September 4.
"When I was told that Mr. Gleiber was about to enter a two-hour meeting, I said, 'Okay, I'll wait.' Three minutes later, Glieber came to the lobby and said, 'Follow me outside of this building right now.'"
Bragg says that, out on the "hot sidewalk," they shook hands. "I apologized again and begged for forgiveness!" Bragg says. "I even offered to return at the same pay rate (minus what he was paying my replacement); even if I had to work for free!"
But according to Bragg, Glieber was angry over a revelation Bragg made to reporter Brett Shipp.
"Glieber shouted, 'When you told Brett Shipp about how I had you make that Big Tex recording so my son could get a date for the senior prom, you crossed over the line; you burned me once, boy, but you'll never get that chance again!'" Bragg says.
Bragg says that as Glieber headed back into the building, he said, "You had your chance, but you blew it! Get out and don't come back for three or four years!"
Bragg's latest gambit is to send Glieber an invoice for $150 for "personal recording for your son's 2012 homecoming ('using the Big Tex cadence'), recorded in my studio and delivered via email on 9/11/12; per your request."