State Fair of Texas

When it comes to Big Tex, all secrets can now be revealed.

R. Eddy Snell and Karen L. Miller have had to keep a big secret for the past year – perhaps the biggest secret in the state of Texas. The State Fair of Texas hired them and their group, SRO Associates, to create the new Big Tex. 

SRO is a production company near San Antonio. The company has built sets and created entertainment for several theme parks across the country, including SeaWorld, Six Flags and Hershey Park. But SRO got a lot of help from San Antonio-based Texas Scenic Company to build his interior steel structure, as well as program his movements.

Every year, the State Fair of Texas awards the most original food that is battered and plunged into a vat of boiling oil.

And it gets weirder every year. The obvious choices came and went in previous competitions — concoctions such as fried ice cream, fried cookie dough and chicken-fried bacon. Now, every year, the same cooks have to top themselves, which is not easy.

Last year, Butch Benavides — a Mexican food restaurateur turned fry-master — won a trophy for his fried bacon cinnamon roll on a stick.

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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."