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|For Immediate Release|
|Big Tex 101|
Big Tex is the world’s best-known 52-foot-tall talking cowboy. The famous icon will be welcoming guests to the 2010 State Fair of Texas beginning at 10 a.m. on opening day, Sept. 24.
His 1952 State Fair debut was auspicious. Speechless that first year, a little engineering helped him ‘find’ his voice in 1953, and he’s been talking ever since. A friendly wave was added in 1997; three years later he began turning his head. Tex may talk a little s-l-o-w, but without question, he is one of the most famous Texans on earth. He is certainly the tallest.
Many Baby Boomers acknowledge their 50th birthdays, and Tex was no exception. A festive party was thrown in 2002, replete with a giant birthday cake and an AARP card. It is not known if Tex has taken advantage of that membership.
What you need to know about Big Tex
Who makes the clothes for Big Tex? He’s a practical guy who prefers the solid workmanship and comfort offered by Fort Worth’s own Williamson-Dickie.
What’s his shirt size? Big Tex has a 31-ft. chest, a 10-ft. neck and shoulders measuring 12-and-a-half feet. His cowboy shirt sleeves measure 22-ft.
What about his pants? Tex’s waist is a surprisingly trim 23-and-a-half feet, and the inseam of his Western-cut jeans measures 15-and-a-half feet. Those pants weigh 80 lbs. and cost in excess of $300 to clean them.
Does he change clothes? An outfit typically lasts three seasons. Standing outside for 24-days will take a toll on a fellow’s duds. His current outfit debuted in 2008.
What about his hat, belt and boots? He wears a 75-gallon cowboy hat, a 23-ft. long belt with a 50 lb. buckle and size-70, ‘ostrich’-skin footwear.
Is it true he was once Santa Claus? Yep. In an effort to lure shoppers downtown, the Kerens (Texas) Chamber of Commerce installed a giant Santa in 1949. After a couple of years, his ‘contract’ expired, and he was purchased for $750 by State Fair president and former Dallas Mayor R.L. Thornton. Dallas artist and stage designer Jack Bridges magically transformed St. Nick into a huge cowboy and, by 1952, Big Tex was on board for good.
What’s he made of? His original body got an extreme makeover in 1997. Underneath those clothes, he sports a cage-like skeleton consisting of 4,200 feet of steel rods weighing 3 tons.
Who talks for Big Tex? Since 2002, Bill Bragg has provided the booming voice for him from a discreet location near Big Tex Circle. What’s his most famous quote? “Ho-w-w-w-w-d-e-e-e, Folks! Welcome to the State Fair of Texas!”
Do people in other places know who Big Tex is? Absolutely. He’s appeared in local, regional, national and international news coverage. His resume includes film, too. In 1961, Big Tex ‘co-starred’ with Ann-Margret in the locally-shot remake of the movie, State Fair.
Does he travel? Not anymore. In 1953 he accompanied the Dallas Jaycees to a convention in Minneapolis. He appeared at Abilene Christian College’s 50th anniversary in 1955, and Rotarians welcomed Tex in 1958 to SMU’s Moody Coliseum. Dallas motorists must have been shocked to see him in ’62, standing outside the Holiday Inn Central for a broadcasters’ conclave. In 1965, Australia wanted him Down Under for its Royal Easter Show, but he declined. Local traffic could spot him in 1979, looming outside the Apparel Mart in honor of long-time Fair president, Bob Cullum. Big Tex’s life on the road ended the mid-1980s after another round with the Rotarians at the Dallas Convention Center.
When will he be back in Fair Park? He’ll be back on Monday, Sept. 20, before the Fair opens on Friday, Sept. 24. The 2010 State Fair of Texas runs through Sunday, Oct. 17.