Big Tex is 60 years old this year, but instead of birthday candles to blow out, firefighters had a fully engulfed fire to extinguish.
State Fair Vice President of Marketing Mitchell Glieber said the fire ran up the electrical line to his jaw, destroying the 52-foot icon of the Texas State Fair.
"Probably within 5 minutes or so, all of his clothes were pretty much on fire," said Glieber. "It happened fairly quickly, but there weren't a lot of people in the park."
Glieber said it happened about 20 minutes after the fairgrounds opened and no one was inured, but Glieber said it i a sad day in state fair history.
Big Tex has presided over every state fair since 1952. He is the original Big Tex with only a few modifications over the years.
"Big Tex is a big deal for the State Fair," Glieber said. "He's our host here at the State Fair. He's our icon. He's our Mickey Mouse if you will. It's not a happy thing to see him go."
Glieber said it's too early to tell if Big Tex's steel frame survived the fire. If it didn't, he might be made bigger and taller next year.
"No question about it, we'll have him back ready to greet fair-goers in September of 2013," said Glieber.