Big Tex Can Now Nod, Point, Destroy Us All

Categories: State Fair

BigTexAmyBetterCam.JPG
Amy Silverstein
Run.
When the State Fair of Texas transformed a kitschy 50-foot Santa Claus into an cadaverous, hollow-eyed cowpoke six decades ago, we did nothing. When Big Tex was resurrected last year following his grisly self-immolation, creepy grin and all, we did nothing still. But there comes a time when civic duty must trump nostalgia and apathy. There comes a time when circumstances force all Dallasites of good conscience to rouse themselves from nostalgic apathy, stand up and say enough is enough.

That time is now.

The Dallas Morning News brings us the unsettling news this morning that Big Tex has been endowed with the power of movement. It's not just the head shake or hand wave of old, which had all the grace of a toy robot. He now boasts a whole range of movements -- including the ability to gaze down and wink at the tiny humans below -- which imbue the giant cowboy with a new level of creepiness.

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The Big Question: Is Big Tex Mexican?

Categories: State Fair

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Amy Silverstein
Yesterday afternoon, Texas gaped as the resurrected Big Tex experienced, in the vaguely unsettling words of State Fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding, a "premature birth." Fair Park's official Twitter feed announced the successful delivery with an equally unfortunate metaphor: "Ta-daaa! Big Tex drops his robe earlier than announced."

Rest assured that Big Tex was fully clothed in his custom-made Dickies when high winds prompted fair officials to remove his cloak of secrecy a day earlier than planned to reveal....a giant, semi-animatronic cowboy that looked pretty much like the old model. A bit more junk in the trunk, but otherwise indistinguishable.

Well, not quite indistinguishable. A close inspection reveals that the face has a darker complexion than before, leading many to pose a vital question:

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Big Tex is Back

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Amy Silverstein
He is risen.

Bill Bragg, Fired Voice of Big Tex, Is Begging to Get His Job Back, and It's Really Sad

Categories: State Fair

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Facebook
When the State Fair of Texas abruptly fired Bill Bragg after 11 years as the voice of Big Tex, they chalked it up to a contract dispute and spoke of making a fresh start after last fall's tragic fire. The real reason, however, was never far from the surface: Fair officials were creeped out by Bragg's overwhelming obsession with the job.

Voicing Big Tex is ostensibly a one-month gig, but Bragg donned his flamboyant Western shirts and cowboy hat year-round and never tired, even in Facebook posts, of bellowing the trademark "HOOOOWDY FOLKS." Add to that his houseful of Big Tex memorabilia, and it's easy to forgive the State Fair for treating him like you would a stalker.

See also
Don't Mess With Big Tex. Give Bill Bragg His Contract Back.
Jim Doesn't Like Big Tex. Big Tex Burned. Jim's from Detroit, Arson City USA. Ruh-roh.

Ditto for Bragg's increasingly desperate pleas to get his job back, which have turned from amusing to sad as the months have passed. Yesterday, he sent a letter to Mayor Mike Rawlings asking him to intervene:

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The Wall Street Journal Checks in on the New "Mr. Tex"

Categories: State Fair

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It's easy to forget, immersed as we are in creepy YouTube renderings of Big Tex's face, that the rest of the world probably isn't obsessively tracking the progress in replacing the gangly 50-foot cowboy. And so, over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal filled them in on the rebuilding effort and the "ruckus" it's caused.

They don't provide much evidence of a ruckus, citing only the brief Twitter outrage prompted by Mayor Rawlings' suggestion last fall that Big Tex would return "bigger and better for the 21st Century" and a trio of fairgoers, at least one of whom "[has] been known to dress up like Big Tex, donning Western shirts, boots and over-sized belt buckles." The other two are a hair dresser and jewelry designer, so, it's safe to say, hardly a representative sample of Big Tex patrons.

See also
Big Tex's New Face Keeps Getting Creepier


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Big Tex's New Face Keeps Getting Creepier

Categories: State Fair

In the months since Big Tex met his untimely end, State Fair officials have been releasing snippets of how an iconic 50-foot cowboy statue is designed in the 21st century. First, they showed the hand, then a his head. Today, we get our first good look at Big Tex's face.

The videos seem intended to build excitement for Big Tex's September 27 unveiling, though those chillingly empty eyes and deranged rictus might have another effect entirely.

The State Fair is Taking Donations to Pay For Big Tex, Who Sends Along a Slightly Morbid Holiday Greeting

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State Fair of Texas

For now, the State Fair of Texas is sticking to its story that Big Tex wasn't reduced to a scorched metal frame during this summer's conflagration but instead is recuperating at an undisclosed Texas spa. Not only that, but he's well enough to send a holiday greeting that the fair passed along this morning.

See also:
-The Tragic Tale of That Giant Santa Who Once Sat Upon Porter Chevrolet on Mockingbird

From the Christmas missive, we learn that Big Tex thinks enough of himself to write in the third person, is fond of making macabre references to his "accident" ("Thanks also to those at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas who are giving Big Tex a helping hand to get this message delivered. Big Tex needs that hand because right now his own hands are not real useful, know what he means?") and believes, falsely, that he once had a laugh with Elvis ("Big Tex reminded him his first name is still Big, and that nobody much knew or cared about Elvis' last name. 'You're just Elvis,' Big Tex said. Well, Elvis must have thought that was pretty funny. He laughed and said, 'We ain't nothing but a couple of hound dogs, you know it?")

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The State Fair Says Big Tex is Recuperating at a Spa, Which is Clearly Not the Case

Categories: State Fair

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Yesterday, it would have been hard to imagine the Big Tex saga becoming even more absurd. Just think about it: a 50-foot-tall mechanical cowboy spontaneously bursts into flames and becomes the subject of weepy-eyed morning as if he were a Beatle.

Yet today brings evidence that the story actually can become more absurd. The State Fair of Texas dispatched a press release this morning, ostensibly to inform the public that Big Tex will be fully restored in time for the opening of the fair on September 27, 2013, but really to showcase the talents of freelance journalist Dallas Small. This doesn't appear to be a real person, just an ill-advised play on the Big Tex name (get it?), but it's not really clear. The State Fair lays it out with a poker face.

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You Will Soon Be Able to Surf In Fair Park

Categories: State Fair

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WaveLoch
One of the many available FlowRider styles.
Here's what we know so far: Fair Park, in an effort to not be a waste of space 11 months of the year, is opening an amusement park. It's called Summer Adventures, despite the fact that it will open next spring. It will have the $11 million, 500-foot Top of Texas Tower.

We didn't know until today that is that, according to city documents, there will also be a FlowRider. And what's the FlowRider, you ask? Well, it's like the ocean in that you can surf on it. But it's really more like one of those Endless Pools in that you just hover there on a jet of water. You can watch a video here.

Big Tex Has His Own CrowdTilt Fundraising Campaign: "Let's Get Him Some New Clothes!"

Categories: State Fair

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Via Twitter
The last time time Dallas Nostalgia took this big a hit was when the St. Patrick's Day parade appeared in peril. Before Mark Cuban emptied his cup holders and saved it, the internet took up the cause, in the form of a CrowdTilt fundraiser.

See also:
- CrowdTilt Started a "Save the St. Paddy's Day Parade" Page, But Needs Someone to Finish It
- Big Tex Burned Down Today at the State Fair

A similar campaign raised money for the Deep Ellum Community Garden. Now CrowdTilt's at it again. James Beshara, the Dallas native who co-founded the crowd-sourced fundraising site, emailed a couple minutes ago to let us know that a Big Tex CrowdTilt campaign has been started. Its name: "Big Tex Tragedy 2012: Let's get him some new clothes!!!!" Its goal: Raise $50,000 to get Tex up and clothed and waving kinda creepily again.

"I remember dressing up as him for Fair Day at my elementary school in first grade," 26-year-old Beshara, who lives in the Bay Area, told me by email. "To me, as a six year old, he was the fair. I mean, it's funny to look back and think about the impact this 50-foot robotic cowboy had on my youth, but growing up in Texas he was the cowboy you know you'd get to see year after year. Was pretty sad to see the images of him burning up on my phone this morning."

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