So, if you’ve ever been to the State Fair of Texas, you know about Big Tex.
He’s the great, big cowboy that welcomes you to the Fair, saying, “Howdy, folks!”
I love Big Tex. I mean, honestly, who doesn’t love Big Tex? He’s big. And friendly. He’s always got a smile on his face….
If you don’t see Big Tex, you’re at the wrong place.
(FYI: one of the Fletcher’s Corny Dogs stand is located in front of Big Tex!)
I’ve always loved Big Tex, but now I love him even more. Wanna know why? Because I’m married to the grandson of one of the creators/builders of Big Tex!
That’s right! I’m Big Tex’s granddaughter-in-law! My boys are Big Tex’s great-grandchildren!
But, Big Tex did not start out as a cowboy.
Big Tex was actually Santa Claus. Yep, that’s right.
In 1949, the town of Kerens, Texas, where ThrillCam’s grandfather lived, used the great, big Santa coming out of a chimney to encourage local holiday shopping. Apparently, the “World’s Largest Santa” was a big success; shoppers from Dallas and all over Texas drove to Kerens, just to see Santa.
ThrillCam’s grandfather helped build the big Santa coming out of the chimney.
(I copied those photos off the internet. The first photo gives credit to the photographer/studio. The second photo does not, so I apologize for not giving credit where credit is due.)
Kerens used the Santa for a couple of years (making improvements along the way, like removing the chimney and giving him legs) until the new wore off.
Then, in 1951, the then-president of the State Fair, purchased Santa and asked an artist to reconfigure the Santa components to create a gigantic cowboy, called Big Tex.
He’s since gone through some tweaks, here and there. For example, Big Tex’s nose is smaller, he no longer has a beard, his hand waves, his mouth moves, and his head turns. The original Santa never moved. Plus, they’ve changed the configuration of the arms.
Pretty cool, huh?
I am a 6th generation Texan and I just love being ever-so-slightly connected to a fantastic Texas tradition!
You never knew you were in the presence of Texas royalty, did you? Might have made you read this drivel with a little more respect.
With love, y’all,