DALLAS, Texas (KETK) – The State Fair of Texas is mourning the loss of Mr. Robert “Bob” Boykin, the voice of beloved Big Tex.
Bob was born in Dallas and raised in Richardson. He worked as an announcer for Green Valley Raceway to help pay for 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.
During his career, he accomplished many great things but throughout it all, he held tight to the dream he had since he was a boy. The dream of being 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,” said Terri Boykin, Bob’s wife of more than 10 years.
Following the 2012 fair, Terri researched how someone could become the voice of Big Tex. In turn, Bob never expected his dream to become a reality. He was so shocked, that he waited until 10 p.m. the night before the deadline to apply. From over 150 applicants down to four, Bob showed up to the final round of auditions and got the job.
Bob has voiced the iconic cowboy for the past seven years under anonymity. He said one of his favorite parts of voicing Big Tex was watching crowds and children’s faces for the first time when they saw the 55-foot cowboy in person.
He is survived by his wife, family, friends, and five Great Pyrenees dogs. Bob was buried in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery with honors on January 29, 2020, and a celebration of life was held for him on February 8, 2020, in Kaufman.
Big Tex has been greeting fair visitors with ‘Howdy Folks!’ since 1952. Attendees at the 2012 fair watched as the cowboy went up in flames making national news. State Fair officials said the fire was caused by an electrical short that consumed Big Tex’s clothing. Shortly after, the fair vowed the bring Big Tex back in which his clothing was made of fire-resistant fabric.