Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Opinion

October 10, 2013

JOE ELERSON: Big Tex again proves he’s much larger than life

Athens — When I was a little kid, the thought of seeing Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas was something I could not wait to see as I entered the fairgrounds.

You would always hear that iconic voice of the 52-foot statue greeting you as you headed to the ticket booth to pay your admission fee for a day full of fun.

When I got older and was a member of the Van High School marching band, we had the privilege of marching in the State Fair Parade every year.

Once again, I would see the iconic figure as we went along the parade route showcasing our hard work for all of those in attendance at the fair.

Then last year happened when Big Tex was seen on-fire on televisions across the country. Media outlets would spend hours on end broadcasting the latest updates on the devastation.

You would see people in disbelief as they were seeing Big Texas after 60-years burning down to just the metal frame that held him up for all those years.

Then things really got out-of-hand as people on YouTube started posting tribute videos to Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” – which now has 126,000 views as of Monday.

When I saw the video at first, I did not know what to think. Sadness, laughter and confusion were just some of the emotions that came to mind at first viewing.

Yes, I was sad to see it on television. The laughter came when I saw how people were making such sad videos about a statue being burned. The confusion then came as to why were people making such a big deal about it all.

Now I am not saying that lifelong fans of the State Fair should not have been sad about it. It just seemed to be blown out of proportion in my opinion.

Then on Sept. 29, Big Tex made his return to greet patrons to the fairgrounds with new improvements.

Big Tex now stands at 55-feet tall (three feet taller than he previously was), he has a fire-suppression suit and is wearing a red-white-and-blue shirt featuring stars and a 95-gallon hat. A giant belt buckle adorns his blue jeans, and his boots feature American and Texas flags and the state Capitol.

I remember watching the coverage on TV of the new Big Tex as fans had mixed reactions.

Some people said his complexion was darker than before, and that his eyes were bothering them because they were so big.

A lot of people did not like the fact that his pants are tucked inside of his boots. I saw one person in an interview on Channel 8 news that said, “He better have a deep voice since he is so big and not a squirrelly voice.”

I laughed when one person said it looked like he had reconstructive surgery and that he looked older. The reason he looks like he had surgery is because he was burnt, and I would not expect him to look younger this time around.

Fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding said in an ABCnews.com article that Big Tex's footwear are replicas of Lucchese boots from the 1940s that were part of a series featuring designs for each state.

“I love it. I think he looks great,” Stephanie Szatan said after pausing to snap a picture of the revamped cowboy. “I'm glad he's back.”

Big Tex has a new voice this year as a lucky person from among 111 applicants was chosen to greet those attending the fair during the previous two weeks, leading up to the final week this week. Big Tex’s voice will be both live and recorded, which will allow him to speak longer.

With a new and improved Big Tex greeting those in attendance, Gooding summed up just how special the new statue is for the State Fair.

“At first we thought about the ultimate makeover. This is not the ultimate makeover – this is the ultimate comeback,” Gooding said. “It was a 9-month birthing process. He just showed up a little early.”

Even as we prepare to say goodbye to the new Big Tex a week from Sunday, we can always know that we do everything bigger in Texas.

Even the creators of Big Tex would agree with that statement.

Joe Elerson is a staff writer for the Athens Review. He can be reached at jelerson@athensreview.com.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Wilson mug.JPG Rolling into something new

    She did it.
    My baby girl rolled over for the first time this past week while daddy and mommy were watching closely.
    As other major news broke across the county, watching my baby roll over for the first time was by far the biggest news of the week for me. Odd.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe new mug.jpg Fanfare is a time to prepare for another season

    I love to see the talent our student athletes have across Henderson County. To know that each player puts in the blood, sweat and tears to play for a district championship and hopefully a state title is something special to see.
    Another great in the world of sports is a player who is retiring this season in New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
    Jeter once said, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do — and I believe that.”

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg The greatest country in the world has hungry children

    No child should go hungry. We are the greatest country in the world, yet we have hungry children.
    An article I recently read said that if a child in school can't afford lunch, they will be given a sandwich and water. I was told the sandwich is cheese between two pieces of bread.
    I hope everyone realizes that is what they serve in the county jail. Not that I know this from personal experience. I was told from someone who did know from experience.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase

    Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase.
    Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze.
    It means no worries for the rest of your days.
    It's our problem-free philosophy.
    Hakuna Matata!
    Congratulations, if you have watched the Lion King a couple of times you now have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg It was a week in the depth of heat, then cooler

    Sunday and Monday of this week have been very uncomfortable.  The air conditioner at our house has been down, and the temperature outside and in the house have been way up.
    Thank God for the blessing of the cool temperatures and the rain that fell on Tuesday, then on Wednesday.  It changed things just a little bit.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Time away is necessary for everyone

    I can remember as a kid writing essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” As the years pass, and we are more in-tune with the workplace, those vacations get shorter and shorter.
    Do you ever have those days  when you just need a vacation? Sometimes you just need to get away.
    Taking time off work should be fun and rejuvenating. We all need a recharge every now and then. But vacations aren't what they use to be. We rarely disconnect ourselves from our jobs.

    July 12, 2014

  • Joe new mug.jpg Student athletes: Time to wake up and get to work

    Hey student athletes, it is about time for you to wake up and get to work.
    Your summer is coming to an end, and the early morning wake up calls for practices are right around the corner.
    I am talking to the football players, volleyball players, cross country kids, band members, drill team members and cheerleaders.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Remember who you are

    Are you running so fast that you have forgotten why you started the race in the first place?
    Life moving at a blistering pace that it is tough to keep up?
    Maybe it is time to stop, take a deep look into the pool of water and remember. Remember who you are.
    On numerous occasions, I have had to do just that. Ironically, various movies have caused me to look inside.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg CSUMC provided a memorable experience

    My wife Jean and I went to a very interesting, and what I consider a very unique event last Saturday night.
    I had heard that the church where we are members, Carroll Springs United Methodist Church, was having an event in which people sitting in the audience would sing their favorite hymns into a microphone.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich mug.jpg Independence ultimately won on battlefield

    I always enjoy celebrating Independence Day, and hearing some of the stirring words written in the Declaration of Independence.
    Thomas Jefferson wrote that our Creator has given us certain rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The way I see it, if I have life and liberty, that gives me a pretty good start on the third one.
    But as eloquent as our founding fathers were, and how moving the texts they left behind, one fact can’t be overlooked. Our independence was ultimately won and secured on the battlefield.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp