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Big Tex goes up in flames

One of the city's greatest landmarks is no more, as the iconic 52-feet cowboy who welcomes visitors to the State Fair of Texas was destroyed in a fire on Friday.

The State Fair of Texas, held every in Fair Park, is known for two things: the annual football game between Texas and OU in the Cotton Bowl and the giant metal cowboy known as "Big Tex" at the front of the fair.

And while the city has been able to prevent Jerry Jones from poaching the game and bringing it to Cowboys Stadium, at least so far, Big Tex will not be welcoming the two school's fans in 2013.

On Friday, the 52-foot cowboy burst in flames, sending smoke billowing into the air that could be seen for miles away.

Tex, who made his debut in 1952, predates the Cowboys, Rangers, Mavericks and Stars, and he's watched Dallas grow into one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the US.

Despite the fire, the fair continued Friday as Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings vowed that Big Tex would not be gone forever:

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.