State fair officials in Missouri are apologizing after a rodeo cowboy came out wearing an Obama mask and an announcer joked about a bull running down the president Saturday.
The Missouri State Fair and Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association both issued apologies Sunday after images and video of the incident began making the rounds online.
In the video, announcer Mark Ficken, the MRCA president and Boonville School Superintendent, said the "rogue" clown be heard asking the crowd if they wanted to see "Obama run down by a bull" and, when he got a positive response, said, "We're going to smoke Obama, man!"
Spectators Perry Beam and his wife brought Taiwanese exchange student Jameson Hsieh to the fair in Sedalia to "give him a little piece of Americana," but ended up showing him a part of America Beam said was too similar to an ugly part of the nation's past: a Klan rally.
"It wasn't clean; it wasn't fun," Beam said. "It was awful. It was sickening. It was racist."
"We were just ashamed, and he didn't ask any more questions," Beam said. "I think he had seen enough. It is just disgusting."
Hsieh recorded the video that has brought condemnation down on the participants and organizers of the rodeo.
"The State Fair is funded by taxpayer dollars, and is supposed to be a place where we can all bring our families and celebrate the state that we love," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo, in a statement posted to her website.
"But the young Missourians who witnessed this stunt learned exactly the wrong lesson about political discourse-that somehow it's ever acceptable to, in a public event, disrespect, taunt, and joke about harming the President of our great nation," she said. "Missouri is better than this, and I expect someone to be held accountable."
The state's Republican Lieutenant Gov., tweeted his condemnation, saying Missouri is "better than this."
The @MoStateFair celebrates Missouri and our people. I condemn the actions disrespectful to POTUS the other night. We are better than this.— Peter Kinder (@PeterKinder) August 11, 2013
The MRCA posted an apology to the front of its website and promised measures to prevent a repeat of the incident:
The Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association would like to extend a sincere apology for the inappropriate act during the Bull Riding at the Saturday performance of the MRCA Rodeo. The MRCA Board of Directors and over 600 members do not condone nor approve of this sort of activity. The MRCA Board of Directors is dealing with the situation firmly and quickly as this type of behavior will not be tolerated. The Sport of Rodeo is not meant to be a political platform. We are taking measures by training and educating our contract acts to prevent anything like this from ever happening again. All Members of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association are very proud of our Country and our President. Once again our apologies to the Missouri State Fair and the fans who were in attendance and we hope to see you at another rodeo soon. Sincerely, The Missouri Board of Directors
And the Missouri State Fair issued a condemnation on its Facebook page Sunday night: