orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

October 19, 2012

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big Tex

Associated Press
The Orange Leader

DALLAS — Fire destroyed Big Tex on Friday, leaving behind little more than the metal frame of the 52-foot-tall metal-and-fabric cowboy that is an icon of the State Fair of Texas.

Some fabric that made up the towering structure's hand and sleeves could still be seen as firefighters gathered around the scorched area.

Big Tex's 75-gallon hat, 50-pound belt buckle and slow drawl — "Howdy, folks!" — have been greeting fair visitors since 1952. This year's fair, which closes Sunday, had been celebrating Big Tex's 60th birthday.

"It's a great loss for us because of its icon stature," fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding said.

Gooding said she didn't know the cause of the fire but did note electrical controls move Big Tex's mouth and head. A Dallas fire spokesman didn't immediately respond to an email message seeking comment.

Gooding noted that no one was injured in the fire and added that she expects him to be back for next year's state fair.

"He'll be back, bigger and better than ever," she said.