WootBot


quality posts: 15 Private Messages WootBot

Staff

This year was a really important year for me. Towards the end of the 2012 State Fair of Texas, Big Tex burned down due to an electrical fire. I honestly didn't think they'd replace him, how could they replace a Texan icon? But like a phoenix, Big Tex was reborn, debuting anew in this year's State Fair.

 

The thing that really took me by surprise was that they didn't even bother modernizing him. To the un-Texan eye, he looks exactly the same to you as he probably ever did, which is: creepy as hell. But there's more to him, friends, I want to teach you all about Big Tex.

 

Big Tex started off in 1949 as Santa/tourist trap in a small Texas town who still to this day use "Big Tex's Birthplace" as their only claim to fame. A couple years later, after he had scared all the children in Kerens with his creeptastic Santa countenance, R.L. Thornton (a name Texans might recognize as the worst highway cluster in downtown Dallas) bought him for a pretty reasonable $750 and debuted him as a cowboy in the 1952 State Fair of Texas.


(From 1956, via Wikipedia)
 

Almost right after his debut, he began traveling, stopping by a national convention in Minneapolis, the 50th annual homecoming at Abilene Christian College, and even eventually back to his hometown for their 100th anniversary. It took them only a couple years before the familiar "Howdy folks!" would emanate from the big jovial cowboy, and probably only a couple more years before he was thanking his sponsors.

His clothes were changed about every three years, and were provided by and designed by Dickies. His jeans weigh in at a whopping 65 pounds, his shirts ranged from patriotic to fairly plain (here's a pretty good slideshow).

He was actually mostly papier-mâché at the beginning of his life. It's a miracle he lasted as long as he did back then, aside from having a couple "bald spots" and being slightly ripped apart by Hurricane Carla. In 1997 they replaced his innards with a metal skeleton, which, ultimately did not and could not save him from the electrical fire of 2012.


(From 2012, via Wikipedia)
 
2012 was Big Tex's 60th birthday (at the Fair, that is), and it had been just ten years ago on his 50th that grey was added to his hair and "wrinkles" to his face to show that the big ol' guy was aging just like the rest of us chumps. After a huge response from local fair-goers and national attention on the admittedly unnerving sight of him burning, fair officials promised a bigger, better Tex. But is he really? Beyond the cool new shoes and reinforced structure, he's basically the same guy.

 

 

This year I made the pilgrimage back to my home state to pay homage to the reconstructed Tex. I had already seen photos- I didn't come in blind, I knew not much had changed, and, ya know, I'm okay with that. Why would anyone want Big Tex to change?


The 2013 butter sculpture, "Welcome Home Big Tex"
 

Kristy Tye, aka agingdragqueen, lives primarily on the Internet and is the usual voice of Woot's social media junk. Watch for more posts about some of the dumb stuff she's interested in!

olcubmaster


quality posts: 31 Private Messages olcubmaster

You'd think at his age Tex would be getting a bit tired of standing. Perhaps he'll stride on up to our Nation's Capitol to sit a spell on our 20 foot chair.

Sugar 'em up and send 'em home

ThunderThighs


quality posts: 617 Private Messages ThunderThighs

Staff

ADQ, did you think he looked more creepy than the previous one? That's what I was hearing but I didn't make it to the fair.

I kinda wonder if his features are exaggerated since you're looking at him from a long distance.



FORUM MODERATOR
To contact Customer Service, use the SUPPORT form at the top of every woot page
••• ► Woot's Return Policy ◄ ••• ► Did you check your spam/junk folders for a CS reply?
CANCEL?? How to cancel your order in the first 15 minutes!! - except orders with Woot-Off or expedited items

agingdragqueen


quality posts: 135 Private Messages agingdragqueen

Staff

ThunderThighs wrote:ADQ, did you think he looked more creepy than the previous one? That's what I was hearing but I didn't make it to the fair.

I kinda wonder if his features are exaggerated since you're looking at him from a long distance.



He was, if anything, a little less creepy, but I found it more creepy that given the option to re-do Tex altogether, a group of people decided to keep him about the same.

What was really disturbing was the small museum they had created for Tex. There was a glass case with a previous head and his disembodied hands from last year (along with some of the memorial gifts people left).


robgnts5611


quality posts: 1 Private Messages robgnts5611

Ok...Big Tex, big boots, which go on......BIG FOOT?
Mystery solved.......

arismella


quality posts: 16 Private Messages arismella
agingdragqueen wrote:What was really disturbing was the small museum they had created for Tex. There was a glass case with a previous head and his disembodied hands from last year (along with some of the memorial gifts people left).



That is horrifying. :-O

steakndani


quality posts: 0 Private Messages steakndani

Thanks for the interesting history on Big Tex. I'm a fan of the Pat Boone version of "State Fair" and always thought Big Tex was pretty cool. I was saddened to hear he burned and delighted to see he is back. Good for the State of Texas!

kerez


quality posts: 0 Private Messages kerez

Loved the story about Big Tex. Thank you Kristy for explaining all of the history for the rest of us. One day I'll have to make it out of Northern California and go pay him a visit... ~Ken