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Fire destroys State Fair of Texas icon Big Tex

John McKibben / AP

Fire engulfs the Big Tex cowboy statue.

DALLAS (AP) - The man who provides the voice for Big Tex, the giant cowboy at the State Fair of Texas, was greeting people with his usual "Howdy, folks!" in a slow drawl Friday when someone rushed into his trailer to tell him the towering fair icon was on fire.

Lm Otero / AP

Collin Harm, 4, cries as his dad Scott Harm of Azle,Texas, tries to comfort him as they look at the burned remains Big Tex on Friday.

"It moved quickly," Bill Bragg said of the fire that engulfed the 52-foot-tall structure, leaving not much more than its charred metal frame behind. "It was a quick end."

This year's fair was supposed to be a celebration for Big Tex, marking his 60th birthday. Instead, the beloved cowboy was hauled from the grounds on a flatbed truck two days before the end of the fair in a procession resembling a funeral.

"It's sad to see this happen, but it's lucky no one was injured or killed," said Mike Blucher of Dallas, who was at the fair with his wife, Linda. Read the full story.

Lm Otero / AP

The burned remains of the metal cowboy Big Tex is removed by crane on Friday.

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