Friday, October 19, 2012

Dallas mourns the loss of Big Tex

[Photos: lostintexas / Twitter, ihatecomedy / Twitter]

Let today be forever known as Black Friday, for today is that day that Dallas lost one of our most iconic citizens, State Fair host Big Tex.  Big Tex was a man of mythic proportions, standing 52-ft. high, with a 31-ft. chest, 10-ft. neck, and shoulders measuring 12-and-a-half feet.

According to State Fair of Texas representative, Sue Gooding, "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."

photo: DMN archives
According to Bill Bragg, who voices Big Tex from a PA system in a nearby trailer, it was "business as usual" before the blaze broke out.  "Tex was talking perfectly. A beautiful day at Fair Park. And they knocked on the door and they said, 'There's smoke coming out of Big Tex.' I went out. I investigated. I unplugged all of my equipment in the travel trailer, so I could isolate myself from the statue for safety reasons," Bragg said.  "Tex went down talking."

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 is removed from the State Fair of Texas grounds

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.  For those of you who need an outlet for your grief, you can share your stories on a new Facebook Page dedicated to Big Tex called the Big Tex Grief Support Group.