Photo by Jason Janik.

State Fair of Texas

The New Voice of Big Tex Will Welcome You Back to the State Fair of Texas

After a year off because of COVID-19, the fair is back. And a new (and anonymous) voice will be booming out "Howdy, folks."

When the State Fair of Texas returns this fall after taking a year off during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new voice will be booming out “Howdy, folks” to welcome back thousands of fairgoers.

“After reviewing hundreds of submissions early last year, we did select a new Voice of Big Tex,” says Karissa Condoianis, senior vice president of public relations for the State Fair of Texas. “I am unable to disclose his identity, as we want to keep the attention on our 55-foot cowboy, but I can share that he was the Voice of Big Tex during our Big Tex Fair Food Drive-Thru event that we held in lieu of the annual State Fair of Texas last year. And he will be returning as the Voice this year.”

The anonymity of the Voice of Big Tex is serious business. The identity of the previous Voice, Robert “Bob” Boykin, who filled the role for seven years, was only revealed last February after his death at age 73. Bill Bragg, who had the job from 2002 to 2012, was fired for breaking State Fair omerta and revealing himself as the Voice of Big Tex at a charity event. The longest-tenured Voice was radio announcer Jim Lowe, who had the gig for nearly four decades and set the bar by which all Voices of Big Tex are measured.

The new Voice of Big Tex may have made his soft debut last fall, but a drive-through food event is no substitute for the real deal. This is prime time. Big Tex, who will go unmasked for this fall’s festivities, is back with a new Voice.

Who is the new Voice of Big Tex? The only thing I can say with any authority is that it’s not me. Although I guess I’d have to say that, if it was me. The fair held open auditions and got hundreds of submissions. I’m assuming they picked the best. Which is not me, probably, no matter how much I love to run around Fair Park with a corny dog intoning “Howdy, folks.” I’m pretty good at it, really. But a lot of us can affect a deep voice and a twang. It takes real gravitas to be Big Tex. Real tall cowboy cred. Here’s to the new Voice. Long may he reign.

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