"Big Tex is burning to the ground because of an electrical short! (sad face)"
Do what?!?! I blurted out in my native Texas tongue. My wife's alarming text message caught me off guard, but she attached a picture to prove the tragedy.
There he was, the towering 60-year-old icon of the State Fair of Texas, lit up like a bonfire.
Early word from authorities is that the 52-foot-tall cowboy who welcomed fair-goers with a booming "Howdy, folks" likely suffered an electrical short in his motorized parts.
No one on the ground was reportedly injured, but dozens of Texans stood in awe, snapping photos of the symbolic structure going down in flames. It must have been a gut-wrenching sight.
The State Fair of Texas is the largest in the U.S., and the notorious home of such delicacies as fried butter and fried bacon cinnamon rolls.
He only visits once a year during the fair, but the big fella is as famous as Willie Nelson, Nolan Ryan and other notable Texans.
A mourner quickly posted a touching tribute on YouTube.
#BigTex quickly trended on Twitter, including a tweet from the mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings.
"Dallas is about Big Things and #BigTex was symbolic of that," the mayor wrote on Twitter. "We will rebuild Big Tex bigger and better for the 21st Century."
"Will flags be lowered throughout the city?" Judson Stafford replied to the mayor's tweet.
I hear ya, Judson. Gosh dang this is tough.
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