Outside of the state of Texas no one has heard of ‘Big Tex’ but in the Lone Star State he’s something of an icon. Maybe not as big of an icon as Bob Wills or Willie Nelson, but he has stood in front of the Texas State Fairgrounds for over 60 years. Not any more–on Friday he burned down due to an electrical fire.
Big Tex stood 52 feet tall and welcomed fairgoers with a friendly “Hoooowwwdeee, fooolllllks!”. The fair ends on Sunday but Texas State Fair organizers say that he’ll be rebuilt in time for next year’s event. An ‘autopsy’ revealed that the source of the electrical fire was a short that started in one of his boots and he quickly burnt to the ground. Some overly sensitive Texans cried while others went the ‘viral video’ route and tried to get footage on their cellular phones.
The first signs of trouble came about 10:15 AM Central when smoke was spotted coming from his collar. Although some reacted as it was a serious event most fairgoers used it as an opportunity for bad punch lines. One attendee said:
“I didn’t know Big Tex smoked.”
Local firefighters got the word that Big Tex was a-burnin’ with another bad pun:
“Got a rather tall cowboy with all his clothes burned off.”
Eyewitnesses suggest that it took about 10 minutes for Big Tex to be consumed by the flames. Oddly enough, Big Tex’s greetings weren’t recorded but provided by a man named Bill Bragg, who has performed the voice since 2002. He sounded downright traumatized:
“I could not believe my eyes. It was sadness and shock. We were all just hoping that it would be a bad dream and we’d wake up and everything would be OK.”
Other bystanders overreacted a bit–police cordoned off the area which some said made the area look like a ‘crime scene’. Before long, a big piece of canvas was put over the carcass of Big Tex to the shock of one cellphone toting yokel on the verge of tears:
“I’m getting all of this. It’s like he’s in a body bag.”
Big Tex will reportedly be back for next year’s fair and will hopefully be more fire retardant.