Almost one year ago, the icon of the State Fair of Texas caught fire and disappeared in a plume of black smoke. But, today, Big Tex is back and bigger than ever.
Fair officials had planned to reveal the redesigned cowboy colossus on Friday with the opening of this year's fair, but high winds forced them to drop the big curtain a day early.
Big Tex has been redesigned numerous times since he first appeared at the fair in 1952, and as the previous version was totaled in the 2012 disaster, officials took the opportunity to give him yet another makeover.
He has a new face and a new posture, and at 55 feet tall, he's a full 3 feet taller than before. He's also free-standing now, eliminating the need for guy wires.
Plus, he'll have a new voice after the fair let the previous vocal artist go, many say unfairly, soon after Big Tex's immolation last year. Bill Bragg had provided Tex's voice since 2002. Officials say the new man behind the voice will remain a secret.
Perhaps most important, though, Big Tex now has a fire-suppression system.