It's difficult to hide a 55 foot tall statue, especially one as famous as Big Tex. Heavy winds seemed to have disrupted the unveiling ceremony for Friday September 27th, causing State Fair of Texas organizers to have to unveil Big Tex a day early. Per State Fair of Texas spokeswoman, Sue Gooding, "We're calling it a premature birth."
There will still be a welcoming ceremony on Thursday, September 27th at 2 pm to introduce the new voice of Big Tex.
What he's wearing
Big Tex is sporting a traditional 95 gallon cowboy hat and Dickie's shirt and pants. The Dickie's manufacturing plant located in Fort Worth, TX was a scene of one of his appearances in the past two weeks, where Big Tex left his footprints behind. If you wear Dickie's apparel to the State Fair of Texas on October 3rd, you get in free. His white shirt has red and blue pockets. Along with a huge hat and cool duds, check out Big Tex's boots. The Lucchese boots are from their 1949 state line. Colorful and definitely a Texan must have the spirit of Texas is all over Big Tex's boots.
Who is Big Tex? His 1952 State Fair debut was auspicious. Speechless that first year, a little engineering helped him “find” his voice in 1953, and he’s been talking ever since. A friendly wave was added in 1997; three years later he began to turn his head. Tex may talk a little s-l-o-w but without question, he is one of the most famous Texas on earth. He is certainly the tallest.
Many baby boomers acknowledge their 50th birthdays, and Texas was no exception. A festive party was thrown in 2002, replete with giant birthday cake and an AARP card. On October 19, 2012, Big Tex was destroyed by an electrical fire, the same year he celebrated his 60th birthday.
Vital statistics and fun facts:
Who makes clothes for Big Tex? He’s a practical guy who prefers solid workmanship and comfort offered by Fort Worth’s own Williamson-Dickie. His outfit is sewn in the original Dickies plant that opened in 1922 at 509 West Vickery in Fort Worth.
What’s his shirt size? His Western shirt runs a size 200 x 325 (neck x sleeve). An average man’s size is 16 x 32. He has a 33-ft 9-inch chest, 11-ft. neck and shoulders measuring 13-feet. His sleeves measure 27-ft. The buttons are 3 ½ inches in diameter. It takes a team of Dickies sewing experts two weeks to make the shirt. It has to be durable enough to withstand a month out in the elements, so Dickies makes it out of FR awning material with venting slits in the material so the wind can blow through it.
What about his pants? Big Tex’s jeans size are 434 x 240 (waist x inseam). It took 100 yards of fabric to make them; they weigh 100 pounds and have 3.5” rivets. It takes a week to make the cowboy’s pants, replicas of Dickies popular 5-pocket jeans made from Dickies flame-resistant denim provided by Mount Vernon Mills in Trion, GA.
Does he change clothes? An outfit typically lasts three season. Standing outside for 24-days will take a toll on a fellow’s duds.
What about his hat, belt, and boots? He wears a 95 gallon hat. His belt is 33-feet inches long and is 1-foot 5-in wide. His boots are a 1949 replica boot designed by Lucchese, size 96.
What is he made of? His body is based on and held up by a steel structure with a lighter steel armature that gives him his shape. His face and hands are made of a fire-retardant product similar to fiberglass covered with a silicone skin. His boots and hat are sculpted foam with a steel armature and a fiberglass-type hard coat.
Is it true he was once a Santa Claus? Yep. In an effort to lure shoppers downtown, the Kerens, Texas Chamber of Commerce installed a giant Santa in 1949. After a couple of years, his ‘contract’ expired, and he was purchased for $750 by State Fair President and former Dallas Mayor R.L.Thorton. Dallas artist and stage designer Jack Bridges magically transformed St. Nick into a huge cowboy and, by 1952, Big Tex was on board for good.
Do people in other places know who Big Tex is? Absolutely. He’s appeared in local, regional, national, and international news coverage. His resume includes film, too. In 1961, Big Tex “co-starred” with Ann Margaret in the locally-shot remake of the movie State Fair.
Big Tex: Now
- Height: 55 feet tall
- Chest: 33 ft 9 in
- Biceps: 10 ft 9 in
- Boots: 12 ft high
- Hands: 5 ft 6 in
- Head: 10 ft
- Pant inseam: 20 ft
- Shoulders: 13 ft
- Sleeves: 27 ft
- Neck: 11 ft
- Waist: 27 ft
- Shirt collar: 16 ft 8 in
- Hat size: 95 gallon
- Boot size: 96
- Original cost: $500,000
The State Fair of Texas runs September 27 – October 20. Visit bigtex.com for more information about this year’s State Fair of Texas.
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