We're all in mourning for Big Tex, the State Fair of Texas giant who burned today. (But fear not, Tex-a-holics: The fair says he'll be back and better than ever when the 2013 fair kicks off next September.) Until then, here are a few classic moments in Big Tex history:
1) Ho, Ho, Howdy
Big Tex was born as a 50-foot-tall Santa Claus in the tiny East Texas town of Kerens back in 1949. And after a couple of years in a Santa hat, he was sold to the State Fair for $750. With a little retooling, and a fashion makeover, Tex made his gala debut at the State Fair in 1952. The Tyler Morning Telegraph pulls the story together here.
2) A Well-Grounded Voice, Always Live
Bill Bragg has been the voice of Big Tex since the huge dude's 50th birthday in 2002. A few years ago, Bragg did some myth-busting with KERA's Jeff Whittington. Listen as Bragg talks about how he stays grounded (he's not based in the big guy's head, which is a very good thing considering what happened today) and how that legendary voice is never recorded -- Bragg does it live throughout the 24-day fair.
3) Big Tex Has A Little Brother