Last weekend, at the Missouri State Fair, rodeo clown Tuffy Gessling (employed to protect riders who get tossed from bulls in rodeo competitions) donned an Obama mask. Things got ugly – ugly even without involvement of the bull—when the announcer asked the predominantly white crowd if ‘anybody wanted to see Obama get run over by a bull’.
A bit of a politically charged question to be raised at a rodeo, but nothing save a little jest and nothing out of the sphere of our freedom of speech, right? Wrong. This display caused an uproar at the Fair, with the masked rodeo clown losing his job and the president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association resigning.
One spectator, Perry Beam, said he had never seen anything ‘so blatantly racist in his life’, even comparing it to a Ku Klux Klan rally and claiming his mixed-race family felt threatened.