DALLAS — The structure was removed later Friday in essentially the same way workers put it up every year — with a crane that slowly lowers it. Only this time, the steel skeleton was covered with a tarp and taken away in almost a funeral-like procession.
Stanley Hill, who supervises a food stand that has been located near the structure for 18 years, said he noticed smoke coming from Big Tex’s neck area and then watched for about 15 minutes as the giant cowboy burned.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Hill said.
No one was injured in the fire, Gooding said.
Big Tex was actually built in 1949 as a giant Santa Claus for a Christmas celebration in Kerens, 60 miles south of Dallas. Intrigued by the idea of a towering cowboy, the State Fair paid $750 for the structure, which debuted as Big Tex in 1952.
Big Tex is inextricably linked to the State Fair. The State Fair website is www.bigtex.com and visitors to the site see their cursor turn into an image of Big Tex’s head, clad in a cowboy hat. The fair’s Twitter account features the cowboy’s image as well.