Boykin provided the voice of the State Fair of Texas’ cowboy mascot for the past seven years.

By Meghan Overdeep
February 11, 2020
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Big Tex
Credit: Patricia Marroquin/Getty Images

Texas is mourning the passing of one of its most iconic voices.

For the past seven years, Robert “Bob” Boykin anonymously served as the voice of the State Fair of Texas’ oversized mascot, Big Tex. He reportedly died on January 23 at the age of 73.

While State Fair attendees aren’t supposed to know who is responsible for the 55-foot-tall cowboy’s booming “howdy, folks!”, the State Fair of Texas released Boykin’s identity yesterday along with a statement about his death.

Though he remained anonymous throughout his tenure, he would often walk onto the fairgrounds and talk with attendees at the State Fair — “so you may have spoken with the man himself,” says a statement from the State Fair of Texas.  “One of his favorite parts of voicing Big Tex was being able to watch the crowds and see the look on a child’s face the first time they saw the 55-foot cowboy in person.”

Boykin was born in Dallas and raised in Richardson. He put himself through college at the University of Texas at Arlington working as an announcer for Green Valley Raceway. After a stint in the United States Marine Corps, he enjoyed a 40-year career at Lockheed Martin, where he had a hand in designing projects like the stealth bomber and F-16.

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But, despite all his accomplishments, Boykin was most proud of his role as 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,” Terri Boykin, Bob’s wife of more than 10 years, said in a statement. “He lived his dream.”

Our hearts are with his family, friends, and the entire State Fair of Texas team.