Big Cowboys Tower Over the Texas Panhandle Keeping Watch
Everything is bigger in Texas and that includes our cowboys.
All our cowboys are big, but I'm actually talking about the giant cowboys that tower over a few cities in the Texas Panhandle.
Let's talk about a few of these cowboys.
Tex Randall has graced the skyline of Canyon for decades. Tex is 47 ft tall and weighs 7 tons. Tex was built in 1959 by Harry Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler was an industrial arts teacher. Tex was built as a giant advertisement for Wheeler's Western Store.
Tex received his historical marker in 2013 and it reads:
The 47-foot, seven-ton cowboy statue, known as Tex Randall, is considered a Texas icon. Designer and builder Harry Wheeler created the cowboy in 1959 as a roadside phenomenon to welcome travelers to his corral curio shop on U.S. Highway 60 West to New Mexico. The giant cowboy relates to the western heritage of the Texas panhandle as well as symbolizing the state of Texas. William Harry Wheeler (1914-1997) was born in Hartley, Texas in the panhandle and died in Amarillo. He was a teacher by profession, but in the 1950s, he sought a way to supplement his income and opened a curio shop along the highway. After three years, he moved the shop across the highway and began his masterpiece, the big cowboy. For ten months, wheeler worked with six-inch wire mesh, rebar and concrete. A friend helped weld the pipe and rebar to the frame.
The concrete cowboy was covered with burlap to protect it from the elements. Levi-Strauss made the pants and Amarillo awning made the shirt, a surface total of 1,440 square feet. Dressing the statue was completed by hand-stitching the clothes in back with sailboat thread, and the shirt was decorated with sheet aluminum buttons covered with vinyl. In true Texas style, the cowboy was adorned with a Stetson-style hat. Wheeler soon added a six-room motel for visitors. Due to reconstruction of the highway, the tourist trade at his shop declined. Wheeler sold the property in 1963. Harry Wheeler’s vision, dedication and attention to detail sealed his creation as a landmark and tourist attraction. The giant cowboy became Wheeler’s lasting contribution to Texas heritage and history.
Tex has his first restoration in 1989 when he was given new clothes (painted on as opposed to wearing actual clothes). He lost the cigarette and picked up a spur. He also grew a mustache. Unfortunately, the years again were unkind, and the Tex Randall Project began to raise money to restore Tex to his original glory. In 2016 the restoration was complete on Tex, and not only was he all fancy once again but a park was also built around him. Tex was named a Canyon city landmark in 2017. Tex Randall is located at 1400 N 3rd Ave.
2nd Amendment Cowboy
This large cowboy sits at 2600 Hope Rd. The 2nd Amendment Cowboy has had many looks and many personas. He was once a muffler man, then he watched over the Country Barn until they closed. In 2014 he was purchased at an auction and now stands as the 2nd Amendment Cowboy.
The 2nd Amendment Cowboy has a fake historical marker that reads:
2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the securing of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED
A free peoploe ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintatina status of independence from any who might attempt to ause them, which would indluce their own government.
This cowboy was cast from a mold that came from Glenn Goode. Poor old 2nd Amendment Cowboy was neglected and riddled with bullet holes before making its way to Amarillo in 2004 to stand in front of the Country Barn. The cowboy was sent back to Mr. Goode for repair and restoration before he became the Country Barn Cowboy where he stood until 2013.
My personal speculation is this cowboy came to stand at the Country Barn to confuse people into thinking this restaurant was the Big Texan. Again, this is just my speculation.
The 2nd Amendment Cowboy stands tall on I-40 and Hope Road.
Tex, Scary Giant Cowboy aka Big Tex (Not to be confused with the State Fair Big Tex)
This Tex stands in Conlen, Texas. It's about the only thing in Conlen, Texas. Tex originally welcomed guests at the Texas Cowboy Cafe in Dalhart. He straddled the front door. He was moved to Conlen, Texas and there he stands.
So many cowboys watching over us in the Texas Panhandle.