North Texas Daily

Texans shouldn’t cry for burning icon

Texans shouldn’t cry for burning icon

October 22
23:18 2012

On the morning of Oct. 19, attendees at the State Fair of Texas faced a grim sight. After 60 years of meeting guests with a painted fiberglass grin and a warm greeting from his animatronic mouth, the beloved fair mascot Big Tex hitched up and rode into the sunset.

His passage was not peaceful. An electrical malfunction in this lanky cowboy’s right boot caused flames and smoke to quickly work their way up the statue’s body, the fire probably assisted by the flammability of Tex’s massive work shirt and 23-foot-waist blue jeans and belt. Within minutes, all that remained of this Texas icon was a smoldering steel skeleton and the remains of his belt buckle.

Onlookers gathered to snap photos as the big man blazed, and many shed tears for his passage – not an unexpected reaction for those who consider the state fair and Big Tex’s tireless wave practically one and the same.  Six decades of standing watch over millions of fairgoers spells quite a few generations of memories, after all.

But dry your tears and buck up, partner, because Big Tex plans to return next year as usual. Fair officials and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings promised that Tex will be rebuilt “bigger and better” in time for the 2013 fair, but while the shock is fresh in our minds, it might help to take a minute and consider our options. The choices we make for the new Tex could very well stand guard at future fairs for 60 more years, so we need to weigh our options carefully.

First and foremost, we’d like to see a few more chunks of animatronic goodness tossed into the mix. A moving jaw and a merrily waving hand sure are quaint, but why not let Tex really cut loose?

Imagine if our favorite cowpoke could catch your eye from afar, bend down on one gigantic knee and extend his oversized hand for a Texas-sized handshake. What if Big Tex could handle a lasso, and wrangle rowdy Oklahoma Sooners? The result would either be endearing or utterly terrifying, and we’re willing to gamble a few million dollars on the former.

Besides, a cowboy as tall as Tex deserves a budget to match, even if our personal opinion that his eyes should shoot lasers doesn’t quite make it to the bargaining table.  No matter how the big man’s makeover plays out in 2013, you can remain confident that the people of Texas are always looking forward.

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