A rodeo clown who included President Obama in his performance over the weekend is now banned from the Missouri State Fair, and fair officials say the organization that ran the event will have to undergo sensitivity training if they ever want to return.
Mark Ficken, the former President of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association–which organized the event–was the announcer on Saturday and can be heard on a spectator-taken video urging the clown, who was wearing an Obama mask, to stay in the ring as the bulls were let loose.
“Obama’s gonna have to just stay there … Obama watch out for those bulls,” he said.
Perry Beam, who took the video, said on Facebook that Ficken was working the crowd on the Obama angle.
“The announcer wanted to know if anyone would like to see Obama run down by a bull. The crowd went wild. He asked it again and again, louder each time, whipping the audience into a lather,” he wrote.
Ficken has since stepped down as president of the association, and the organizers of the State Fair issued an apology on their Facebook page.
“The performance by one of the rodeo clowns at Saturday’s event was inappropriate and disrespectful, and does not reflect the opinions or standards of the Missouri State Fair. We strive to be a family friendly event and regret that Saturday’s rodeo badly missed that mark,” the statement read.
Beam says the entire thing was disturbing and cruel.
“This isn’t the Republican Missouri State Fair,” Beam said. “It was cruel. It was disturbing. I’m still sick to my stomach over it. … I’m standing here with a mixed-race family. My wife’s from Taiwan, and so was the student (his family was hosting). I’ve never seen anything so blatantly racist in my life. If an old country boy picks up on something like that, imagine what a person of color would think.”