Big Tex, who welcomes visitors to the Texas State Fair, has been destroyed by a fire. Nothing but a wire shell and hands remain. The traditional welcoming figure caught fire at about 10:30am.
State Fair of Texas President Sue Gooding said the entire structure was engulfed in flames very quickly, and destroyed within about 10 minutes.
Firefighters responded to the scene and extinguished the fire. No visitors were injured, and no other structures were in danger from the flames. There's no word yet on what sparked the fire, but there is speculation that it was caused by an electrical issue.
With a 75-gallon hat, 50-pound belt buckle and folksy, slow drawl to greet visitors -- "Howdy, folks!" -- Big Tex has been the star of the fair since 1952.
"I can promise you Big Tex will be back up next year," Gooding promised.
The fair has been celebrating Big Tex's 60th birthday this year. The fair closes Sunday.