The Norman Transcript

October 20, 2012

Fire destroys state fair icon Big Tex

By Danny Robbins
The Associated Press

DALLAS — The man who provides the voice for Big Tex, the giant cowboy at the State Fair of Texas, was greeting people with his usual “Howdy, folks!” in a slow drawl Friday when someone rushed into his trailer to tell him the towering fair icon was on fire.

“It moved quickly,” Bill Bragg said of the fire that engulfed the 52-foot-tall structure, leaving not much more than its charred metal frame behind. “It was a quick end.”

“It’s sad to see this happen, but it’s lucky no one was injured or killed,” said Mike Blucher of Dallas, who was at the fair with his wife, Linda.

The cowboy with the 75-gallon hat and 50-pound belt buckle always was easy to spot and served as a popular meeting place for people coming to the fair or attending the annual Texas-Oklahoma football game at the nearby Cotton Bowl. But all that remained by noon Friday were hands and shirt leaves on a burned skeleton.

Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Joel Lavender said Friday afternoon that the cause of the blaze had not been determined.

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.