SHERMAN – In 2000, State Fair of Texas officials sent a threatening letter to a Texoma-area father and son, ordering them to stop using Big Tex as the name for their Sherman business –– and to get rid of the similar statue sitting out in front of it.
It's now been nearly a week since the real Big Tex burned. He was engulfed in an inferno after an electrical short in his size 70 boot. In just six minutes, the iconic statue was gone.
There are, however, two –– similar –– versions of Big Tex residing in the Texoma area, near the Texas and Oklahoma border.
Sherman businessman Jay Goode used to call his store Big Tex Custom Sandblasting. A 24-foot high cowboy statue stood out front, carrying the same name as the State Fair statue.
His father, Glenn Goode, built it from scratch about 30 years ago. In 2000, they received a cease and desist letter from the State Fair of Texas, demanding they take it down and stop using their trademark.
The letter read, "This will further confirm our conversation, which you agreed to make no further use of the name, Big Tex." The Goodes changed the name of the business to Custom Sandblasting and put Tex away.
In Gainesville, about 30 miles to the West, Glenn Goode built a second tall cowboy at his fiberglass business. He bought the legs and chest from a local Muffler Man shop. It cost him $5.
His creation may not be Big Tex, but it shows why the Goodes want to help, especially after the meltdown.
"It's going to be pretty difficult," said Jay Goode. "It's going to take a while to do."
Glenn Goode says he'd be happy to donate a giant head to the Fair. He crafted the head from a mold, using layers of fiberglass. It’s been sitting in a garage and bears a likeness to the fair’s avatar.
"I'd give them the head, if they thought they could use it," said Glenn Goode. "It won't be quite like the original. But it will still be Big Tex."
So why would the Goodes be willing to lend a helping hand to rebuild the tall cowboy? After all, it's the same State Fair that threatened to sue them.
"The Bible says, do good for evil," said the elder Goode as he laughed.
The State Fair isn't likely to accept their offer. Even so, the father and son say they'd like to do their part to help bring back Texas' bigger-than-life icon.