Big Tex | KERA News

Big Tex

State Fair of Texas

Visitors to this year’s State Fair of Texas spent $37.2 million on food, amusement rides and other fun.

That made for a strong year, and better than last year, but just short of the 2010 record of $37.3 million.

Bill Fletcher

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Marking the one-year anniversary of the Big Tex fire, Rangers great Nolan Ryan leaves the team, lots of art in Dallas this weekend, and more:

BJ Austin / KERA News

This year’s State Fair of Texas is all about Big Tex and his triumphant return after last year’s fire. The Hall of State features the exhibit The Life and Times of Big Tex.  And this year’s butter sculpture features the iconic cowboy. 

Eric Aasen / KERA News

While most of the attention today is on the new Big Tex, his home at Big Tex Circle has received significant upgrades. The State Fair of Texas spent about $600,000 on foundation improvements to support the new guy, as well as on beautification at Big Tex Circle.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Eric Aasen, KERA’s new digital news editor, spent five years covering the State Fair for The Dallas Morning News – and, for the past year, he had exclusive access to Big Tex’s reconstruction. His series of stories about the process started in the Morning News today and will run through the weekend.

Our definitive Big Texpert has rounded up a few key facts about the towering cowboy:

BJ Austin / KERA News

When it comes to Big Tex, all secrets can now be revealed.

R. Eddy Snell and Karen L. Miller have had to keep a big secret for the past year – perhaps the biggest secret in the state of Texas. The State Fair of Texas hired them and their group, SRO Associates, to create the new Big Tex. 

SRO is a production company near San Antonio. The company has built sets and created entertainment for several theme parks across the country, including SeaWorld, Six Flags and Hershey Park. But SRO got a lot of help from San Antonio-based Texas Scenic Company to build his interior steel structure, as well as program his movements.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Big Tex is back.

Tex, the folksy cowboy who burned down last fall at the State Fair of Texas, was unveiled prematurely Thursday, a day earlier than planned.

He’s brand new from head to toe, showing off a bright white shirt and fancy boots that show off bluebonnets and other classic Texas scenes.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Update 5:55 p.m.: State Fair of Texas organizers had long been concerned about weather conditions and how that might impact Big Tex's debut. While Big Tex has been built to withstand hurricane-force winds, the curtain that shielded him from public view was causing problems. Fair officials didn't want to risk any issues with their new cowboy.

1:46 p.m. The Big Tex boots, sponsored by Lucchese, include the Texas flag, bluebonnets and Texas State Capitol. These are intricate, fancy boots.

1:39 p.m. Big Tex has made his debut -- a patriotic outfit with a mostly-white shirt. The curtain was dropped minutes ago.


Big Tex, the beloved State Fair of Texas icon, returns to Fair Park on Friday. (If you’ve been under a rock lately, the big guy burned down last October in spectacular fashion, attracting national headlines.)

Before Big Tex makes his triumphant return, we’re offering a daily online look at All Things Big Tex until Friday.

In today's edition of Big Tex 101, we take a look at some odd odds and ends.

Let’s admit it: Big Tex is an odd duck. He has a colorful history, too. Let’s take a look back at some of the more unusual things that have happened to him.

BJ Austin / KERA News

The State Fair of Texas opens Friday.   This year’s theme is “The One & Only” and the star will be Big Tex, making a return after catching fire last year.