State Fair of Texas officials are saddened to report the temporary loss of its long-standing icon, Big Tex during a fire mid-morning today. Around 10 a.m., smoke was noticed billowing from Big Tex’s neck and he was ultimately consumed by an ensuing blaze. The figure’s hands and cage-like skeleton, which consists of 4,200 feet of steel rods weighing three tons, remain from the fire. At this point, investigators believe the fire was caused from an electrical short that started in his right boot.
Matthew McCartin, vice president of marketing for Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co., said “Dickies® has proudly been the official clothier of Big Tex for 15 years. Although we’re saddened by today’s news, we’re confident that together with the State Fair of Texas, Big Tex will return better than ever in new Dickies apparel.”
This year marked Big Tex’s 60th anniversary at the State Fair of Texas. He made his Dallas debut at the 1952 annual exposition, after he was purchased as a Santa Claus from Kerens, Texas by then Fair president R.L. Thornton for $750. Big Tex began to speak during the 1953 event; in 1997 he began to wave and in 2000, was able to turn his head.
Big Tex stats include 52-ft. height; 31-ft. chest; 10-ft. neck, and shoulders measuring 12-and-a-half feet.
Fair officials have removed Big Tex from his position in Big Tex Circle and will restore him so that he can once again fill his boots in time for the 2013 State Fair of Texas.
The 2013 State Fair runs September 27 through October 20.
Funeral for Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas – October 19, 2012
Mr. Holga’s Time Lapse Video of Big Tex – October 6, 2012
Time Lapse of Big Tex Being Lifted into Place at the State Fair of Texas – September 30, 2011
Special Feature: Big Tex Getting New Dickies Shirt – August 2, 2011
Big Tex Goes Up at the State Fair of Texas – September 24, 2010