When the State Fair of Texas abruptly fired Bill Bragg after 11 years as the voice of Big Tex, they chalked it up to a contract dispute and spoke of making a fresh start after last fall's tragic fire. The real reason, however, was never far from the surface: Fair officials were creeped out by Bragg's overwhelming obsession with the job.
Voicing Big Tex is ostensibly a one-month gig, but Bragg donned his flamboyant Western shirts and cowboy hat year-round and never tired, even in Facebook posts, of bellowing the trademark "HOOOOWDY FOLKS." Add to that his houseful of Big Tex memorabilia, and it's easy to forgive the State Fair for treating him like you would a stalker.
Ditto for Bragg's increasingly desperate pleas to get his job back, which have turned from amusing to sad as the months have passed. Yesterday, he sent a letter to Mayor Mike Rawlings asking him to intervene:
This is Bill Bragg, The Voice of BIG TEX for the past 11 years. In the past 30 days I have been on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and interviewed by the BBC! Since The Fair decided not to renew my contract, the story has gone around the world and it is not showing any signs of going away! I love the State Fair and I love Dallas; can you please help resolve this matter? I have written two letters of apology to the Fair, but got no response of any kind! I am willing to return for the same money and under the same terms. As far as I can tell, Sue Gooding (State Fair PR Director) is the only person in the entire world who does NOT want me to be the Voice? A simple "hand shake" will instantly unite everyone, and the sad story of "BIG TEX burning before everyone's eyes" will finally go away! Please help Mr. Mayor!
Rawlings, through his chief of staff Paula Blackmon, declined to get involved, but Bragg is undaunted.
"I'm not egging it on," he told NBC 5. "I'm not fanning the flames, I'm just saying a prayer that I'll somehow get my job back."
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Alas, God also seems unlikely to intervene, leaving Bragg to make a final, desperate plea to the NBC 5 cameras: "The state fair made the right decision 11 years ago when they hired me. Won't you please make the right decision now and hire me back?"
Even after the story aired, with the detail that the State Fair has narrowed a list of more than a hundred applicants to become Bragg's replacement down to four finalists, Bragg's optimism remained undiminished. He said as much on Facebook.
LIGHTING STRIKES THE STATE FAIR'S NEW RIDE!
COULD THIS BE A SIGN FROM ABOVE?
Channel 5 aired a great story on tonight's (6/10) 10 PM News; about my efforts to get my job (as the voice of BIG TEX) back! They followed my story with a story about lighting striking the new State Fair ride! Could there be a connection?