State Fair of Texas

The State Fair Says Big Tex is Recuperating at a Spa, Which is Clearly Not the Case

Yesterday, it would have been hard to imagine the Big Tex saga becoming even more absurd. Just think about it: a 50-foot-tall mechanical cowboy spontaneously bursts into flames and becomes the subject of weepy-eyed morning as if he were a Beatle.

Yet today brings evidence that the story actually can become more absurd. The State Fair of Texas dispatched a press release this morning, ostensibly to inform the public that Big Tex will be fully restored in time for the opening of the fair on September 27, 2013, but really to showcase the talents of freelance journalist Dallas Small. This doesn't appear to be a real person, just an ill-advised play on the Big Tex name (get it?), but it's not really clear. The State Fair lays it out with a poker face.

Small concocts a narrative detailing Big Tex's search for a place to recover. Fair officials quickly concluded that a spa would be ideal, he writes, and narrowed the selection down to five locations.

A facility in Wyoming, "where Western hospitality abounds," attracted Big Tex with its high ceilings, platform beds and extra-large soaking tub. "There are still a lot of real cowboys in Wyoming," Big Tex said. He thought he would be comfortable in that kind of company, but one of the facility's requirements--that patients bring their own athletic shoes--nixed the deal for him. "Big Tex doesn't even have a decent pair of boots," he said, "and where can we find a pair of size 100 athletic shoes?"

So Wyoming was out.

So was the East, which Big Tex said lacked "real, honest, hard-working people." Neither Colorado nor California "brought out the enthusiasm in Big Tex's voice -- the booming voice that says, 'Howdy Folks' each day as the Fair opens. It's a sound that tells us, 'Big Tex is ready, and it's going to be a good day.'"

At this point, the search was left with only one finalist. "Big Tex perked up immediately as we visited with this fifth spa, which billed itself as 'Located in the heart of Texas,'" Ms. Gooding said. Big Tex listened intently as the facility's director described its full rehabilitation services, spacious accommodations large enough to fit him, their rooftop infinity pool, and king-size treatment beds. He was obviously intrigued by both the variety of therapies provided and the peaceful setting to help him recuperate and re-energize. Big Tex's only negative comment concerned one of the spa's selling points: rediscover their inner beauty. "That's not something Big Tex wants to hear about, or even think about," he said. "Big Tex gets a tad uncomfortable with stuff like 'inner beauty.'"

The decision was made.

When asked for the name and location of the spa, Ms. Gooding declined, but said, "Big Tex needs rest to recover. Still, we encourage all well wishers to continue to send greetings and encouragement to him.

Good to know. We think.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson