State fair's Big Tex burns up in fire

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Modified: October 19, 2012 at 11:53 am •  Published: October 19, 2012
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photo - Fire begins to engulf the Big Tex displayed at the State Fair of Texas  Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, in Dallas. The iconic structure was destroyed Friday when flames engulfed his 52-foot-tall frame. (AP Photo/LM Otero) ORG XMIT: TXMO113
Fire begins to engulf the Big Tex displayed at the State Fair of Texas Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, in Dallas. The iconic structure was destroyed Friday when flames engulfed his 52-foot-tall frame. (AP Photo/LM Otero) ORG XMIT: TXMO113
DALLAS (AP) — Fire destroyed Big Tex on Friday, leaving behind little more than the metal frame of the 52-foot-tall metal-and-fabric cowboy that is an icon of the State Fair of Texas.

Some fabric that made up the towering structure's hand and sleeves could still be seen as firefighters gathered around the scorched area.

Big Tex's 75-gallon hat, 50-pound belt buckle and slow drawl — "Howdy, folks!" — have been greeting fair visitors since 1952. This year's fair, which closes Sunday, had been celebrating Big Tex's 60th birthday.

"It's a great loss for us because of its icon stature," fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding said.

Gooding said she didn't know the cause of the fire but did note electrical controls move Big Tex's mouth and head. A Dallas fire spokesman didn't immediately respond to an email message seeking comment.

Gooding noted that no one was injured in the fire and added that she expects him to be back for next year's state fair.

"He'll be back, bigger and better than ever," she said.

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