After a rodeo clown wore a facemask bearing President Obama’s likeness at the Missouri State Fair and allegedly asked the crowd if they’d like to see the president run down by a bull, kicking up a major controversy, the announcer at the Saturday event, Mark Ficken, has resigned from his position as president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association.
According to Ficken’s attorney, he’s resigned over the MRCA’s handling of criticisms of the event. Ficken especially objects to the fact it hasn’t dissociated with the “rogue rodeo clown” who wore the mask, a man who goes by the name of Tuffy Gessling. Ficken believes the clown “jeopardized the organization” and “ought to be kicked out,” Watkins said. The MRCA has posted an apology on its website
National Review Online has reached out to Gessling for comment via his Facebook page, but he has not yet responded.
Ficken’s attorney claims he was unaware that Gessling would be appearing with the mask. In video of the event, a rodeo clown can be heard addressing Ficken over the sound system, asking if he had been informed of the “famous helper” they were going to have that evening; Ficken replies that he had not. Early press reports mistakenly said it was Ficken who had whipped the crowd up and asked them if they’d like to see the president run down by a bull.
The incident created a political firestorm around the state and on the Internet: Lieutenant governor Peter Kinder (a Republican) took to Twitter to denounce the stunt and demand that Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, “hold people responsible.” Senator Claire McCaskill called the incident “shameful.”