Missouri State Fair: Mark Ficken, Announcer in Obama Rodeo Scandal, Says Reports Are Wrong

obama-clown-1.jpg
Courtesy of Perry Beam
Rodeo clown with Obama mask.
Mark Ficken, president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association and a fair announcer caught up in a major scandal this weekend, is pushing back against reports that he made offensive remarks about a bull running down a rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask. As we reported this morning, the Missouri State Fair -- a taxpayer-funded event -- is facing national scrutiny and condemnation from Democrat and Republican leaders in the state after reports surfaced of an individual wearing an Obama clown and an announcer repeatedly screaming about a bull attacking him. The crowd, according to footage and the testimony of at least one attendee, loved it.

Ficken, who is also the Boonville school superintendent, has hired an attorney to defend against the onslaught of media reports and is arguing that his sole reference to the clown was this single statement: "Watch out for that bull Obama!"

"This is a man who was doing nothing more than expressing words of caution," Albert Watkins, the St. Louis-based attorney now representing Ficken, tells Daily RFT.

See also:
- State Fair: Clown Wears Obama Mask, Speaker Suggests Bull Attack, Crowd Goes Wild
- Missouri State Fair Rodeo Clown Identified, Permanently Banned From Performing
- Missouri Clown Tuffy Gessling Gets Huge Online Following After Obama Mask Stunt

Here's video footage that we uploaded, taken by attendee Perry Beam, a Higginsville resident who first spoke up about the incident.

Watkins says that the comments heard in this footage came from a "rogue rodeo clown" and not from his client. Reports attributing the continuous remarks to Ficken are inaccurate, he says.

"This is a classic example of what is happening in our news circles today," Watkins says. "The media is a very, very vital part of our democracy...and has a duty and obligation to the public to make sure they get the story straight."

In this case, many news outlets did not, Watkins says. (Daily RFT included a reference to Ficken's name based on a report from PoliticMo, the first outlet we saw identifying the announcer last night).

"This story is replicated ad nauseum on the Internet...and tens of millions of people in seconds are exposed to a falsehood," he says. "It's proliferated to such an extent...it's nothing short of a media gang bang."

obama-mask-7.jpg
Courtesy of Perry Beam

Watkins says Ficken just wants to clear his name and set the record straight. "He's mortified...wondering whether his future as a superintendent of the public school systems is in jeopardy."

He adds, "My client's priority here is not to ring the litigation bell and try to win the lottery. His goal is just to make it right."

Kari Mergen, a spokeswoman with the state fair, confirms to Daily RFT that Ficken was the announcer but can't offer any comment on who made the remarks in question. She also has no information to share about the identity of the individual in the Obama mask. We've sent a message to the cowboy association as well and will update if we hear back.

Here's a statement the cowboy association posted on its website:

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.

And here's the full press announcement Watkins sent out to reporters this morning:

A beleaguered school superintendent and president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association, Mark Ficken, has retained legal counsel to "set the story straight" relative to the rogue rodeo clown who appeared unscripted Saturday at the Missouri State Fair. News networks and media outlets have picked up the story which erroneously attributed disrespectful commentary to Ficken who was serving in his twentieth year as the announcer of the bull riding competition at the fair.

The clown, donning an Obama mask, was wearing a microphone at the time of his unscripted appearance. Ficken had no advance knowledge of the incident. "He was as surprised as anyone with the appearance of an Obama-masked rodeo clown," said Albert S. Watkins, legal counsel for Mr. Ficken. Ficken's sole reference to the clown was to say, "Watch out for that bull Obama!"

"Unfortunately, in this day of internet piling on, once an outlet published an incorrect statement of facts, the erroneous attribution to my client of comments made by a rogue rodeo clown went viral. My client is now being inundated by responsive and retaliatory action, all of which is premised on a false recital of facts," said Watkins. "It is respectfully suggested that the media needs to cut out the bull and get the facts straight," added Watkins.

"My client is a respected member of the community, a responsible educator and a man deeply committed to protecting his good name. We are closely evaluating the scope and viability of alternative course of legal action to remedy the situation," concluded Watkins.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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46 comments
Realist
Realist

Some Racist idiot put this on social media. Then it became a wild fire. Remember President Obama was in Warrensburg, MO a few weeks ago and said he was surprised everyone wasn't on Pine street drinking since he was over an hour late....IT was a JOKE! It made everyone laugh. But now lets think about it. Obama was pushing for underage drinking. He basically told all the underage students he was talking too and about for his "higher education" talk, they should go drink when someone is late, that its OK. Well that was not and Obama is Raciest for thinking underage drinking is OK!


What I really think is funny is these "elected officials" that condemned very quickly are the ones that cant pay taxes on Airplanes and like strippers. What was said and done at the rodeo probably should not of been said but social media and "elected officials" who have had personal troubles in the past and are trying to get re-elected have blown this completely out of proportion. If that mask is Bill Clinton or either of Team Bush it isn't even a blip on the news. The Fact that its Obama is why it became something. RACISM WILL GO AWAY IF EVERYBODY LETS IT!!! People don't let it go and keep bringing it up and that fuels the fire. Let it go and it will go away!!!

jmweathers3
jmweathers3

Holy crap I cannot believe how stupid these remarks are. This joke is decades old. I remember seeing it done with Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan and every other sitting president. No one was sodomizing Obama. You people are really stretching for something to be offended about.

jimlee138
jimlee138

Mark Ficken did nothing to stop the behavior.  

I wonder what the pep rallies at Boonville high school look like and if he would tolerate this type of behavior there.  

Ficken chose the cheap laugh over the right thing.  

 

jjamiemarsh
jjamiemarsh

What did Ficken think when he saw ‘Obama’ being sodomized with a broom handle which was a common torture by the KKK?  It apparently didn’t bother him at the time because he went along with it.  And he is in charge of young people’s education???  

jjamiemarsh
jjamiemarsh

This article only gives half the quote Ficken said.  His full quote was "Obama’s gonna have to just stay there.Watch out for that bull Obama.”.

So he told the effigy of POTUS that he had to stay in the line of the charging bull.

Appropriate actions need to be taken.  This is disgraceful.

discussant
discussant

As much as I disagreed George Bush's policies, and found inarticulateness embarrassing, I'd  strongly oppose any Colosseum-like stunt like this celebrating his physical peril. 

If Ficken had even the smallest role in this, he deserves the controversy he's drawn and subsequent firing.  An educator must foster critical thinking and thoughtful debate about our nation's serious issues, not this  scapegoating juvenilia.

Tony Henry
Tony Henry

your right i hate that term too , just figured the media wouldn't understand it being two sided cause they don't see it as a double standard , they only understand what they deem politically correct

Natalie Stephens
Natalie Stephens

OMG there are better things for us to report about in the news. So we can make fun of everyone else but NOT the president? People get a freaking grip and chill out over stupid crap like this!!!

Justin Curia
Justin Curia

@justin - so because no one at the rodeo mentioned 'race', it's automatically not racist? cool just making sure

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

Have to love the warped liberal mind Rachel. They only know what they are told and facts scare them.

Rachel Davidson
Rachel Davidson

I agree with you 100% Tony but I hate that term "reverse racism", it's simply racism.

Rachel Davidson
Rachel Davidson

I wouldn't waste your time talking to Kelle. She blocked me because she claimed to be a civil rights activist but was calling people rednecks in the same comment and I called her out on it.

Rachel Davidson
Rachel Davidson

Yes, they are hypocrites. It's unfortunate and pathetic that people easily get so butthurt over something that has been done hundreds of times but with white presidents so I guess that makes it ok. God forbid you make fun of Obama even though he makes it so easy.

sajanney
sajanney

I was there and Mark was not the one making comments.  I too think it is completely unfair that they are placing all the blame on him because of one persons account of the events.  people can find anything offensive, but at the end of the day we all still keep breathing.


Good for Mark trying to clear his name.  I would help him in any way I could!

Jay Brandt
Jay Brandt

Exactly...just like it was ok for the Dixie Chicks to say something about Bush...there wasn't any negative reaction about that from the right....right?? And they weren't at a tax payer funded event...and, in case you haven't noticed a sizable majority of us American tax payers voted for Obama...twice. So, next year...do it again, but without our money...let the Tea Party fund it and call it what it is...The Tea Party Un-Fair Fair.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

Wait I know if Obama had a son and it looked like a rodeo clown this would be ok. I get it now...

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

The Department Of Justice which is funded the same way a state fair is, with tax payer money is the same. Eric Holder signed off on the funds to rally the anti zimmerman protest. How can you say one is right but not the other. Your thinking is flawed and you lack logic.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

@Josh- funding a state fair with contractual guidelines are far more different than a protest. This is a rodeo at a state fair. Announcer and a clown used bad taste and incited violence in the presence and pretense of a family friendly show. A Zimmerman protest is clearly different. That was really reaching for comparison don't you think? Please- save it. Not to mention the announcer is the superintendent of Boone school district. It opens several doors with his bad behavior- which now he has retained a lawyer. Bigger things to debate than your weak comparison.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

The Rodeo Association and Peter Kinder don't think so, are they hypocrites?

chas.manson
chas.manson

Really?   If this had been done while someone was wearing the mask of a white president, no matter what the political party, this would have been nothing more than a blurb, if that.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

Kelle but it is ok for the DOJ to fund anti Zimmerman protests? You can not have one without the other. Wake up you can't eat your cake and everyone elses without paying the price.

Tony Henry
Tony Henry

name a president that hasn't been mad fun of...It's reverse racism by our media I've seen more offensive material on Saturday night live...come on give us some real news instead of this crap

Jim Hederman
Jim Hederman

I would suggest to Mr. Ficken (School Superintendent) that when referring to the president you should include the word President, not just his last name.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

This story is not about a individuals view of political policy of the current administration. This story is about allowing violent humor and attack on the potus at a tax funded state fair, the behavior and allowing it to continue. This was done by someone who is in charge of a school District, and the Missouri Rodeo. Not the venue for showing your hate for the president. He will be judged by all avenues now- and has retained a lawyer.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

He has a attorney now. Hmmmm. His job with the school district may be in jeopardy. People being held responsible for their actions- it's a good thing.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman

This is just another example that the left could not even think for a second how you could not like Obama's views on the issue so it must be because you hate blacks and are a racist.

Justin N Rachel Hager
Justin N Rachel Hager

JJ even the Unions are saying Obamacare will explode their health benefits. That's why they've delayed it's implementation until after the mid term elections. If Obamacare is so wonderful why delay it? Why do the Unions want to avoid it? It's because it's junk, just like every other legislation pushed thru the passed

Justin N Rachel Hager
Justin N Rachel Hager

The rodeo was in Sedalia. But yeah I know there's folks out there who are small minded but this event and the announcer never mentioned race. Everyone knows (just google Clinton race card) Obama's camp uses the race card constantly to distract people from the truth.

thelphq
thelphq

Apparently everyone who's upset is merely "thin skinned", according to the people in charge over at the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association's Facebook page.  According to them, this skit has been going on for a long, long time, under any number of administrations, Republican or Democrat.  If that is true, how is it then that Mr. Ficken, longtime announcer, "was as surprised as anyone with the appearance of an Obama-masked rodeo clown".  I don't buy it.  In any case, the point is, this stunt was in poor taste and demonstrates a real lack of judgment.  If Jimmy Kimmel and Jay Leno were to diddle the lips of a caricature of Obama, that would be equally as offensive and liable to fire up the media circus.  The Office of the President of the United States deserves respect.  Particularly at a state sponsored function.  You'd think all of those "patriots" would've been the first to point out the disrespect on display.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/98479347810/

JJ O'Brand
JJ O'Brand

It wasn't a political event, therefore, and mind you, this "clown" played his lips like a guitar, so how that's not racist is well beyond my scope, this kind of attempt to divide, should not have had the luxury of using tax $s.

JJ O'Brand
JJ O'Brand

Safe to assume you weren't as loud when it came to the 60+ attacks, and 70+ dead under Georgie's watch though. Patriot Act? The IRS is just a joke, as they scrutinized evenly w/ Occupy groups, all you have is the NSA, and lack of transparency, where I will agree w/ you. The others are all debinked lies of the GOP mouthpiece Faux Ooze. This was a publicly funded event, and there was no reason for my tax dollars to pay for any of this shit.

Kenneth Lee M
Kenneth Lee M

Justin - before you jump on the bandwagon of how this can not be racist .... have you ever been to Boonville?

Rachel Davidson
Rachel Davidson

White trash? Lol, really..... Is this president not allowed to be mocked just because he is mixed even though it was perfectly fine to make fun of all the other presidents? How sad for hypocrites like you

Justin N Rachel Hager
Justin N Rachel Hager

No one ever mentioned race during the event yet Mr Beam found it racist?! Is Obama immune to criticism and comical parody? Every President and politician get the same type of treatment yet when it's Obama it's considered racists! It's stupid and insulting to the millions of people who can't stand the President and his policies. Just because we dislike the President doesn't mean you're a racists. Damn! You know what's insulting and distasteful to me? When the President doesn't acknowledge the IRS scandal or that he was involved with Benghazi where Americans died, or when he says Obamacare will lower premiums when it's done the opposite or when he campaigned that Obamacare wasn't a tax increase yet the Supreme Court found it legal only on the grounds of a taxation!. Or how about the fact he slams GW for warrant less wire taps but expanded the NSA's eavesdropping .... That's insulting to me! Where's the media on these issues? They down play them down or just ignore them all together.

judibooty
judibooty

@sajanney Guess its not so funny, not in any sarcastic way but did you laugh too? Is Mr. Ficken a School Superindent?  A man in a role of leadship, both leader and liaison between district employees and the school board?  You would not be worry if this person would make say jokes about raping a young girl and your daughter attends the school district?  You would not think say, that man should maybe think before he opens his mouth, but at a Rodeo he's not offensive (wrong).  Sir this man just made his life uncomfortable and its all his own fault not yours so let him LAWYER UP because he really f__cked up this one.

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

@sajanney he didnt seem to have a problem with it at the time..none of them did. Its only after outrage do some people understand their mistakes. Likewise, you havent said a thing about it either. This type of attitude is whats destroying this country, we are too busy fighting each other. 

judibooty
judibooty

@chas.manson Wow how powerful your message if it were a white president, wow, seems since this is the FIRST african american president I guess that is a great telling, informative comment, Hey a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

@chas.manson lol interesting..cause when Bush had a shoe thrown at him, the right wing went nuts on that guy for "disrespecting the office"..we all know they abandoned that the minute Obama won

thelphq
thelphq

You're probably right . . . maybe somebody should've thought of that before they did it.  Doesn't take a brain surgeon . . . but then, we're not talking about a bunch of brain surgeons here.  Nevertheless, you would think that a school superintendent might show better judgment.  Well, I would anyway. 

david_saint01
david_saint01 topcommenter

@thelphq regardless, if this is paid for with tax payer money NO politics can be involved. 

jdaustin17
jdaustin17

@judibooty @chas.manson  You know the man has a good point! How many skits were done on SNL about Bush, Regan, even Clinton. They were made fun of all in the name of humor. Not one cry of fowl by any of the left, or right wing depending upon who the President was, No they thought it was funny. I am glad I am not a Repub or a Demo they both make me sick with their PC BS, I was one of the first members of the MRCA back in the 80's I am glad I am not asscociated with them now as they don't have the spine of a skunk the way they threw the man under the cart over this. I remember when being a mani used to mean standing up for what was fair in this country even when by yourself, but most nowadays have the cajones of a steer in this country.Our Politicians speak which ever way the political wind blows without the guts to tough it out. When someone makes a joke about this joke of a President all you want to scream about racism, or how horrible it was what a bunch of yellow livered hypocrites. What happened to Freedom of Speech, I guess it is only allowed for supporters of a black President right? If it is wrong in this instance then you or someone else on this board explain to me why it is ok to make fun of a white President. Lest you all forget President Obama is half white so what about if someone just makes cracker jokes about him. This is now a joke, not about the clown, the announcer, or the President but on the state of affairs in our country. When jokers rule the roost the kingdom is in trouble, and those of you bashing the clown are trul the jokers in this!     

jdaustin17
jdaustin17

@david_saint01 @thelphq  you know it wasn't politics it was a rodeo clown. It was not a Senator, a Governor, or any other person in politics doing this. It was a skit. After alll this I do believe our country is lost. How sad that is. 

thelphq
thelphq

If you truly think the "country is lost" all because of the reaction over a foolish skit . . . you have truly lost your mind.

There's a lot of overreaction to this on both sides.  Yours is one of them. 

Actually, I'm pretty much over this myself. 

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