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New arena at Will Rogers takes shape


The proposed Will Rogers Memorial Center arena continues to take shape as voters head for a Nov. 4 election to decide whether to approve new taxes to help pay for the $450 million facility.

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Fort Worth-based Woodmont plans $80M Hard Rock Hotel retail center

Woodmont Outlets of Fort Worth, an affiliate of The Woodmont Co., has partnered with Cherokee Nation Businesses for a proposed upscale retail development at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

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Cooking Class: Fort Worth chef brings home the gold

Toques off to Timothy Prefontaine. The executive chef at the iconic Fort Worth Club is currently the best in the nation, according to the American Culinary Federation. Prefontaine earned the title of 2014 U.S.A.’s Chef of the

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Barnett still packs economic punch, study finds

Despite reduced drilling and unstable gas prices, Fort Worth continues reaping the rewards of the Barnett Shale, according to a newly released study by The Perryman Group.7

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Fort Worth firm 'simplifies' advertising

Reaching customers requires more than price slashing and flashy ads. In today’s competitive marketplace, machines – not men and women – are essential to tapping new markets and

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New Big Tex revealed

Big Tex, the 55-foot-tall symbol of the State Fair of Texas, is unveiled Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, one day earlier than scheduled, in Dallas. Big Tex was supposed to be revealed Friday, before television news helicopters caught a glimpse of the head surrounded on four sides by draping. He was rebuilt for this year after going up in flames in the closing days of the fair last year. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Tom Fox)

JAMIE STENGLE, Associated Press


DALLAS (AP) — The new Big Tex made his debut Thursday afternoon, a year after the towering cowboy that's an icon of the State Fair of Texas was destroyed in a blaze.

The new Big Tex is supposed to look similar to the old one, though at 55-feet tall, he is 3 feet taller. And unlike the figure that was destroyed last year, he has a fire-suppression system.

The big reveal of the new Big Tex had been set for Friday, the opening day of the fair. But fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding said officials decided to move up the unveiling to Thursday after winds started ripping the lightweight curtains surrounding him.

"We decided that although we wanted to keep it a secret, we needed to go ahead and drop it," Gooding said.

With the unveil coming a day before the fair's start, only fair workers and members of the media were there to see him in person Thursday.

An electrical short two days before the end of last year's fair caused the blaze that destroyed the old Big Tex.

Big Tex wears a red-white-and-blue shirt featuring stars and a 95-gallon hat and a Dickie's shirt and pants. The Dickie's manufactuing plant in Fort Worth provided much of Big Tex's shirt and pants. A giant belt buckle adorns his blue jeans and his boots feature American and Texas flags and the state Capitol. If you wear Dickie's apparel to the State Fair of Texas on October 3, attendees get in free. 

Fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding said Big Tex's footwear are replicas of Lucchese boots from the 1940s that were part of a series featuring designs for each state.

"I love it. I think he looks great," Stephanie Szatan said after pausing to snap a picture of the revamped cowboy. "I'm glad he's back."

Szatan, whose family owns food stands at the fair, noted his appearance has evolved over the years anyway.

Melissa Polk, who works with a resort company that has a booth at the fair, said she was still trying to get used to his new face.

"It's neat-looking, but you're so accustomed to something," she said.

About an hour before the fair announced that the reveal would be moved up a day, television helicopters hovering above Big Tex offered a sneak peek of his cowboy hat-topped head and shoulders, but Gooding said that didn't play into the fair's decision to move up the unveiling.

The fair still plans a ceremony featuring Big Tex on Friday afternoon, she said, but it will be a "welcome back" instead of an unveiling. She also said Big Tex won't talk until Friday. He has a new voice this year following a contract dispute with the man who provided his voice previously.

The new person providing the voice was chosen from among 111 applicants and is from the Dallas area, Gooding said. That person's name will remain a mystery, she said.

She also said his voice will be both live and recorded, which will allow him to speak longer. She said only the live voice has been used for the last several years after the technology used for the recording broke.

This will mark the 61st year that Big Tex has presided over the state fair. After last year's fire, the beloved cowboy was hauled from the grounds on a flatbed truck in a procession resembling a funeral.

Big Tex was built in 1949 as a giant Santa Claus for a Christmas celebration in Kerens, 60 miles south of Dallas. Intrigued by the idea of a towering cowboy, the State Fair of Texas paid $750 for the structure, which debuted as Big Tex in 1952.

An exhibition at this year's fair will spotlight Big Tex's history and a 20-minute video will show the rebuilding of Big Tex. - Robert Francis of the Business Press contributed to this report.

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