Now With Even More Big Tex Conspiracies!
By far, the most talked-about story from this past weekend is the untimely passing of one of Dallas' most iconic figures, when Big Tex, the State Fair's 52-foot-tall cowboy statue and mascot, was destroyed by fire on Friday.
According to statements released by State Fair officials, the fire was caused by an electrical short that started inside Big Tex's size 70 right boot. But, as we reported just days ago , there is a growing contingent of Dallasites who believe the 60-year-old statue's destruction was an inside job.
Let's face it, things like Mayor Mike Rawlings' statements about building a new bigger, Big Tex and the fact that Fair officials already had a body bag-like tarp on hand just scream conspiracy — especially when you also factor in the belief that Big Tex was set to be replaced in 2013, anyway.
A post on the upstart Facebook group Big Tex Grief Support Group, a Fair “insider” allegedly was quoted as saying, “He was going to be rebuilt this winter, so a new Tex will be in place before we know it!” As we posed in our earlier post, would it have caused too big of an outcry if, sans fire, the Fair's organizers had simply said they were retiring the vintage statue in favor of an updated version? It's possible, and the fire provides these folks with something of a crafty escape route.
And, honest, hints of a conspiracy theory continue to bubble up everywhere we look.
For instance: Prior to opening day this year, the following paragraph was posted verbatim under the “attractions” section of the Fair's official website: “When BIG TEX turned 50 in 2002, he was feted with a giant birthday cake and an AARP card, even though he did not in fact retire, proclaiming himself much too young for such as that. As the 60th milestone approaches, Fair officials are planning a surprise party for Big Tex and at this point, believe he doesn't suspect a thing.”
Kinda creepy in retrospect, right? We acknowledge, of course, that am actual birthday party for Tex was, in fact, planned. But we'd also like to point out that there is just something peculiar about the way the information was worded. Plus, this part, originally set to take place on September 29, was conveniently cancelled due to rain.
Is it possible that the fire may have been the very “surprise” that Big Tex allegedly never suspected?
The Fair's theme this year, it must be noted, was “Big and Bright.” What's bigger and brighter than a 52-foot-tall cowboy on fire?
A just as likely Big Tex sacrifice theory centers around the fact that the fire was started to raise the funds necessary to cover growing costs required to hold the 24-day event.
Consider the following: After Big Tex's lifeless frame was finally lowered, the State Fair's official website saw an increased demand on Big Tex bobble head dolls — so much so, in fact, that the entire batch original run of the dolls was sold out, causing organizers to re-order another batch. Since when has the Fair been in the practice of re-stocking their merch a week after its closure that same year?
Then there's this: With a rainstorm washing out opening weekend, this year's Fair originally started off incredibly slowly as Fair economics go. Could Tex's demise have been planned to help increase final weekend numbers? It's plausible, especially when you consider this remarkable Dallas Morning News report that says the State Fair of Texas might've even broken a spending record by the time things were all said and done.
It's also possible the statue's destruction could be just a clever ploy to boost attendance at next year's Fair (i.e. everybody will want to go check out the new, “bigger” Big Tex) while simultaneously garnering the Fair national attention for the effort. That much, at least, makes sense. How many other years can you recall seeing the State Fair of Texas earning coverage from the likes of such national outlets as TMZ as was the case this past weekend?
These are just the plausible ones, too. Other, more-ridiculous theories kicking around the internet imply that Big Tex's death was an act of self-immolation meant to draw attention to the raising prices of corny dogs.
Regardless, this much is true: There are dozens of theories beginning to gain traction locally — and too many now for the subject to be simply brushed off.
All we know is that where there is smoke, there is generally fire. Big Tex taught us at least that much.
Photo of the impromptu Big Tex memorial in Fair Park by Melissa Mackaly.