The Last Word

A Blog about Lucchese, our Process, our Culture and the People and Places that Inspire Us

The iconic Big Tex gets a makeover
How Lucchese filled Big Tex's big shoes
The boots were hand-painted by a team of 14 artists.
credit: Caitlin M. Ryan

Less than a year after the original Big Tex burned in a 2012 electrical fire, the State Fair of Texas debuted a newly constructed Big Tex to a delighted crowd of onlookers who'd gathered for the unveiling of the icon on opening day of 2013. When the giant curtain dropped, the crowd met a Big Tex who was just as welcoming as ever but, in his new form, anchored to the ground in massive size-96 Lucchese boots.

The relationship between Big Tex and Lucchese is best described as a meeting of icons. "The state of Texas is all about the biggest and best of Texas, and Big Tex is the biggest," William Zeitz, creative director and EVP of marketing at Lucchese, told El Paso's ABC affiliate, KVIA. "We think that Lucchese is the best, so it was a natural fit for us."

To honor the colossal cowboy's historic relationship with Texas, Lucchese went through the company archives and built a replica of the Texas-themed boot from the state collection commissioned by Acme in 1949 for an advertising campaign. It took Lucchese an astonishingly short four years to build the entire 48 boot collection for the campaign, each one featuring unique and exact colors for the state's flag, capitol building, bird and flower. 

Lucchese historian Randy Steele brought one-half of the only remaining Texas pair to Big Tex's unveiling, telling Business Week that it would cost "more than $10,000 to make today."

Big Tex's stately (pun intended) new boots stand 12-feet tall, weigh 900-pounds and were hand-built and hand-painted in Dallas by a team of 14 artists, a creative process which stayed true to Lucchese's commitment to high quality, handcrafted products. 

Boots aside, the entire structure serves as an impressive feat in engineering, built in collaboration by SRO Associates and Texas Scenic Co. Unarguably both bigger and better, Big Tex now weighs in at 25,000 pounds as compared to the original's 7,000; is controlled by interior computerized mechanics; stands without guide wires; and is cloaked in fire-retardant garments.

"I think people are really fascinated by Big Tex, and he's been a Texas legend for a long time," Zeitz said. "We're really proud to be a part of it."

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The Texas State boot can be special ordered by calling 888 582 1883 or emailing specialorders@lucchese.com. 

09.28.2013