Who is Big Tex?
For starters, he’s the world’s best-known 52-foot-tall talking cowboy. His State Fair debut in 1952 was auspicious — originally speechless, a little engineering helped him find his voice in 1953 and he’s been talking ever since.
A friendly wave was added in 1997 and, three years later, he began turning his head. Tex may talk a little s-l-o-o-o-w, but without question, he is one of the most famous Texans on Earth.
He is certainly the tallest.
Tex did have a life before the State Fair of Texas. Once upon a time, he was Kris Kringle.
The Kerens (Texas) Chamber of Commerce installed a giant Santa as a 1949 Christmas promotion, but the gimmick only lasted a couple of years.
Ever the visionary, R.L. Thornton, State Fair president and former Dallas mayor, knew a good thing when he saw it. After a $750 transaction, Tex was sent to “Big D,” where Dallas artist and stage designer Jack Bridges magically transformed St. Nick into a huge cowboy.
By 1952, Big Tex was on board for good.
In 1997, an extreme makeover resulted in a buffed-up, more mature Tex, sporting a dash of gray in his sideburns. His earlier armature was tossed and he was fitted with a new, cage-like skeleton consisting of 4,200 feet of steel rods weighing 3 tons.
Featured in local, regional, national and international news coverage, his resume also includes film. In 1961, Big Tex co-starred with Ann-Margret in the locally-shot remake of the movie, “State Fair.”
Williamson-Dickie, his clothier of choice, is the creator of his fetching ensemble.
The Fort Worth-based manufacturer prides itself on its workwear, altogether fitting for a big guy on the job for more than 24 days. His Dickie’s jeans are crisp and clean and his shirt is a classic cowboy design. Red, with a blue yoke and sleeves, it’s piped in yellow and features (faux) pearl snaps, half-moon breast pockets, red cuffs and a collar with Western tips. Two white stars on each sleeve give his shirt a decidedly modern look.
Big Tex was back in place Monday in anticipation of the State Fair of Texas’ opening Friday.
The fair runs through Sunday, Oct. 21.