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The Voice of Big Tex Gets the Boot

For more than a decade, Bill Bragg’s voice greeted visitors to the Texas State Fair in Dallas.

“Howdy, folks! Welcome," was one of the classic catch phrases. But Bragg would also provide other information, such as details on events happening at the Fair that day.  Then, in October, Big Tex burned. “We’ve got a rather tall cowboy with all his clothes burned off," a Dallas Fire Rescue dispatcher said in this recording.  

The State Fair has now decided that with a new statue, it wants to go a different direction with the voice. Bragg told KRLD-AM in Dallas that he is devastated.

“I was planning on doing this for the rest of my life. I’m just shocked, dismayed and broken hearted," he said.

A spokesperson for the State Fair tells KUT News that Bragg’s contract is renewed annually, and they opted not to renew it this year. They didn’t give us a reason.

Bragg is not the first voice of Big Tex to get the boot. The giant robotic statue has had half a dozen voices over the past 60 years. 

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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