Big Tex will no longer stand tall over the grounds at the State Fair of Texas.
The giant cowboy caught fire shortly after 10:15 am on Friday at the fairgrounds in Texas during the final days of the State Fair there, the Dallas News reported.
“It’s a very sad day for all fair-goers,” fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding said. “It’s a sad way to end the fair.”
Gooding said smoke first started pouring from Big Tex’s neck, but said she thinks the fire was electrical. A crew had been working in the collar area and Big Tex has a motor that moves the statue’s mouth to greet fairgoers with the iconic greeting, “Howdy, folks.”
Though Big Tex burned down in a spectacular blaze caught on camera, Gooding noted that no other part of the grounds were in jeopardy.
“We’re so glad that at no point was anyone at the fair was in danger.”
The dispatch call to firefighters about Big Tex was a bit unusual, the Dallas News noted.
“Got a rather tall cowboy with all his clothes burned off,” a Dallas Fire0-Rescue dispatcher said over the radio.
It didn’t take Big Tex long to burn down. Allen Ferrell, who was visiting the fair with a church group from North Richland Hills, said the giant cowboy was gone within minutes.
“Big Tex was done in about 10 minutes,” he said.
All that was left of Big Tex was the metal frame of the 52-foot structure, The Associated Press reported. The statue, which has been part of the fair since 1952, won’t be gone long, Gooding noted. She said Big Tex will be back in time for next year.
Fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding says she doesn’t know the cause of the fire but did note electrical controls move Big Tex’s mouth and head. Gooding says no one was injured in the fire and added that she expects Big Tex to be back for next year’s state fair.