Big Tex: The Half-Million-Dollar Man

The original story of the Big Tex fire, published Oct. 19, 2012, began with these words: Big Tex, the beloved 52-foot-tall cowboy who’s watched over the State Fair of Texas for decades, caught on fire Friday morning and was quickly burnt to a crisp. He was 60.

A few months later, the new and improved Big Tex was being built. I drove to the top-secret location to talk with the engineers and artists who rebuilt him.

“Birthin’ a 55-foot cowboy in nine months could only happen in Texas,” Sue Gooding, retired VP of public relations for the State Fair of Texas told me.

“Big Tex has sported a barrel chest since his debut — but he never quite filled out his jeans,” she said. “The request to enhance his posterior was made by Mitchell Glieber, the State Fair of Texas president. Staff calls it ‘The Mitch’ in homage to its namesake.”

To read more, visit our partners at the Dallas Morning News for this member-exclusive story.

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