'Smokey' John Reaves, founder of Smokey John's Bar-B-Que, dies at 74

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The founder of a State Fair of Texas staple has died.

Smokey John's Bar-B-Que opened as a restaurant in the Love Field area in 1976.

It's founder -- "Smokey" John Reaves -- opened the second black owned stand at the Texas State Fair.

On Sunday state fair concessionaires showed up to compete for the title of best savory dish, best sweet dish, and most creative.

Smokey John's Bar-B-Que took home two awards, but the win was bittersweet after losing their dad to diabetes at the age of 74 on Saturday.

A young John Reaves opened Big John’s back in 1976 on the corner of Lemmon and Mockingbird in Dallas.

Reaves became the second black person to have a booth at the Texas State Fair.

He earned the nickname “Smokey Johns,” and it stuck.

Now his sons, Brent and Juan Reaves, are continuing their father’s legacy.

The two have been involved in the family business for 20 years.

“Not only did he give us such a great foundation, he gave us a business, an opportunity to create revenue, to create jobs,” said Brent Reaves. “To be a black man in America and have your own business, and to have a father, that’s what makes me emotional.”

This year, the Reaves brothers showed up to the Big Tex Choice Awards with the Big Red Chicken Bread.

It won “Best Taste” in the sweet category.

It’s a donut with Big Red soda mixed into the batter, and it has a fried chicken wing sitting inside of the hole with sunglasses on.