Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News
Bill Bragg says he wants the State Fair of Texas to reconsider its decision to replace him as the voice of Big Tex.
The voice of Big Tex for the past 11 years wants his old job back.
Bill Bragg lost the gig voicing the 52-foot tall animatronic cowboy two months ago in a contract dispute. So far, his pleas to the State Fair of Texas to reconsider have fallen on deaf ears.
"I'm not egging it on. I'm not fanning the flames," he said. "I'm just saying a prayer that I will somehow get my job back."
Bragg fired off a letter to City Hall and posted on his Facebook page, asking the mayor of Dallas to intervene.
The mayor's office wrote right back, telling Bragg it's up to the State Fair.
"Big Tex is going to be different. I mean, we're getting a new Big Tex, period," said Paula Blackmon, the mayor's chief of staff.
Big Tex is being redesigned after it burned to the ground in October. The iconic larger-than-life cowboy serves as a symbol and spokesperson for the annual State Fair of Texas. Big Tex's 75-gallon hat, 50-pound belt buckle and slow drawl -- "Howdy, folks!" -- have been greeting fair visitors since 1952. Last year's fair had been celebrating Big Tex's 60th birthday when the structure went up in flames.
The State Fair is standing by its decision not to renew Bragg's contract, saying in a statement that, "The fair is moving forward with the selection of a voice for the upcoming season."
More than 100 people have auditioned to replace Bragg as the next voice of Big Tex. The search is currently down to four finalists.
The State Fair of Texas expects to make a decision the week of June 17. The fair plans to reveal the new voice and the new Big Tex at the same time -- on the first day of the 2013 fair, Sept. 27.