“I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.”
It is a popular bumper sticker and reflected by those of us that are not considered native. If you were not born in Texas, it is all you have to cling too. Having spent more than 2/3 of my life in Texas, I too can never be native and the best I can hope for is a bumper sticker to show my loyalty.
Texans are funny people, we really are. We have a lot of state pride and why not? It is the greatest state in the union; we all know everything is bigger and better in Texas.
The Texas State Fair opened their gates originally in 1886. In 1952 Big Tex, the beloved towering cowboy made his debut as the State Fair Mascot.
In fact, Big Tex began life in 1948 as a 49 foot tall Santa Clause. The towering Santa Clause stood for two years, promoted as the worlds largest Clause, which was disputed, later and was sold after the fanfare faded during the holiday promotion. Big Tex took new life after the $750.00 purchase by then State Fair President R.L. Thompaon and with the help of artist Jack Bridges, Big Tex was transformed into the cowboy and stood above the Texas State Fair until 2012.
On the morning of October 19, 2012, the final weekend of the State Fair and Big Tex’s 60th birthday a fire started on the inside of the framework of Big Tex and fair goers watched as the beloved icon burned to his skeleton. The exact point of origin has never been determined due to the absolute destruction of Big Tex.
For the past 11 months, working under shrouds of secrecy and code names, the new Big Tex was revealed a day earlier than expected due to high winds at the 2013 State Fair. But being anxious to get out in front of his public would not be the only news worthy event for the renewed icon.
Reports flooded the Texas airwaves over concern of the skin color of the new Big Tex. Not taking into account the modern materials used to create Tex, the skin pigmentation color appeared darker to some, lending comments on social networks and even on air to a possible renaming of Big Tex to Big Tex-Mex.
Many have offered suggestions but creators SRO Associates and Texas Scenic Co. have offered the best explanation for this skin tone dilemma.
According to the spokesperson for SRO, the pigmentation will lighten over time. In the past, Big Tex was repainted every 2 years, but with the new materials, he will not need to see a makeup artist for at least 5 years.
Big Tex originally was constructed out of fiberglass, however the modern day cowboy is made from a silicone material that is attached to a skeletal frame, including the skull. These materials are expected to hold up better over the years. Even the fabric in Big Tex’s pants are said to be more durable against the elements.
The new Big Tex is worth a little more than the original $750 sale price. In fact it cost $500,000.00 to rebuild the giant of the midway, a pretty penny for a Texas icon. Big Tex also gained a little weight, he is up to 25,000 pounds which re-creators boasts he can withstand up to 100 mph winds, even if the fabric that was to keep him a secret one more day could not. Big Tex also grew 3 feet to a new towering height of 55 feet.
Fair goers for many years to come are sure to see one thing, Big Tex waving hello and in his booming voice wishing them a fine Texas day.
Dennis Phillips / Publisher