It's easy to forget, immersed as we are in creepy YouTube renderings of Big Tex's face, that the rest of the world probably isn't obsessively tracking the progress in replacing the gangly 50-foot cowboy. And so, over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal filled them in on the rebuilding effort and the "ruckus" it's caused.
They don't provide much evidence of a ruckus, citing only the brief Twitter outrage prompted by Mayor Rawlings' suggestion last fall that Big Tex would return "bigger and better for the 21st Century" and a trio of fairgoers, at least one of whom "[has] been known to dress up like Big Tex, donning Western shirts, boots and over-sized belt buckles." The other two are a hair dresser and jewelry designer, so, it's safe to say, hardly a representative sample of Big Tex patrons.
But their overview of the cowboy's rise, fall and resurrection is solid enough, even if it for some reason took the work of two reporters who marvel at the "astonishing array of unlikely foods (butter, bacon, bubble gum) that have been deep-fried," the existence of corny dogs ("batter-dipped hot dogs on sticks") and the "52 kinds of Bubbas" who parade through Fair Park.
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Despite those moments of mild condescension, the piece redeems itself by referring to the fallen cowboy as "Mr. Tex" on second reference, thus according him the respect his six decades of service have earned.
The main takeaway from the article, though, is that Bill Bragg, the 66-year-old voice of Big Tex fired earlier this year, is really, really sad. The Journal describes him as "heartbroken and would do anything to get his gig back."
Bragg still can't grasp why fair officials would object to his habit of dressing up like Big Tex all year long, which he said was what prompted his firing. (Fair officials have cited "creative differences.") "If a child sees a man in a Santa suit in July, is he supposed to deny he is Santa Claus?" Bragg asked the Journal.
To answer his question, yes. Everyone knows Santa is at the North Pole in July. Now somebody please build a gigantic animatronic cowboy for that man to ape.