State Fair of Texas gives sneak peek into Big Tex's restoration

Repaired iconic statue to debut in September

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DALLAS - The State Fair of Texas is giving fans of Big Tex, the fair's iconic 60-year-old metal cowboy statue, a sneak peek into his restoration after he caught fire last year.

Fair officials have released a behind-the-scenes video that shows the technical process behind Big Tex's makeover. The video shows the design of a 3-D model of Big Tex's hands. Designers are tasked with also recreating his head and features, body structure, boots, and clothes.

The towering gentle giant whose slow drawl of "Howdy, folks!" has entertained fairgoers for 60 years was destroyed in October of 2012. Ever since, engineers and designers have been working to restore the big fella to his glory.

The redesign is no small feet. Big Tex has a 75-gallon hat and a 50-pound belt buckle. He has a 31-foot chest, a 10-foot neck and 12.5-foot shoulders. The parts that remained of Big Tex were removed from his post before the restoration started.


Officials said Big Tex will be unveiled on Sept. 27, 2013, opening day of the fair.

Investigators said they believe the fire that destroyed Big Tex may have been caused by an electrical short that started in his right boot. Electrical controls move Big Tex's mouth and head.

According to officials, many people concerned about Big Tex contacted the fair after the fire to make a donation. A fund was been established and may be accessed on The total from private donations has exceeded $45,000, the fair said.

Big Tex was originally built in 1949 as a giant Santa Claus for a Christmas celebration in Kerens, 60 miles south of Dallas. Intrigued by the idea of a towering cowboy, the State Fair paid $750 for the structure, which debuted as Big Tex in 1952.

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