Milestones in the life of "Big Tex," State Fair of Texas icon:

1949 —Erected as a 52-foot-tall "Santa Claus" on Nov. 10th, 1949, in Kerens to bolster the town's Christmas shopping.

1950 — Transported 60 miles to Dallas and sold to the State Fair of Texas for $750.

1952 — Transformed and unveiled as a giant cowboy named "Big Tex" and made its debut in late October as the official symbol of the State Fair of Texas.

1953 — Speaks for the first time. Over the years, six men have provided the voice for Big Tex, which says "Howdy, folks!" about 60 times a day during the fair.

1997 — Original body was rebuilt on a cage-like frame made of 4,200 feet of steel rods.

2000 — Upgraded with body movements, waving to fairgoers as they passed by to the Midway.

2002 — Turns 50, gets an all-new wardrobe and a new voice.

2012 — Destroyed in fire. Fair officials vow to rebuild icon for 2013.