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Missouri State Fair Obama Mask Stunt: Rodeo Clown Tuffy Gessling Permanently Banned

tuffy-gessling-1.jpg
via Facebook
Tuffy Gessling.
The rodeo clown behind the Obama stunt over the weekend that has sparked national outrage has been banned from ever participating in or performing at the Missouri State Fair again, officials announced this afternoon.

In case you haven't been following the drama, a rodeo clown in an Obama mask appeared at the fair in Sedalia on Saturday night and someone over the loudspeaker made repeated jokes about having a bull run over the president -- which many in the crowd apparently loved.

Now, members of the Missouri State Fair Commission have voted to ban the clown -- who reports have identified as performer Tuffy Gessling -- and the commission is also reviewing its contract with the Missouri Rodeo Cowboys Associations, which puts on the rodeo show.

See also:
- Mark Ficken, Announcer in Obama Rodeo State Fair Scandal, Says Reports Are Wrong
- Clown Wears Obama Mask At Fair, Speaker Suggests Bull Attack, Crowd Goes Wild
- Missouri Clown Tuffy Gessling Gets Huge Online Following After Obama Mask Stunt

This latest action comes after national media coverage of the incident and harsh statements from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. As we reported earlier, Mark Ficken, president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association and the announcer during the stunt has lawyered up and is arguing that he did not make any of the controversial statements in question -- and was surprised to see a "rogue rodeo clown" appear with the Obama mask.

obama-mask-7.jpg
Courtesy of Perry Beam

"We're all trying to get to the bottom of this," Rep. Stacey Newman, a Democrat, tells Daily RFT, noting that state agriculture officials informed several lawmakers earlier today that the clown has been reprimanded, but that she wants to see more serious action taken. "Who is responsible for putting on the rodeo?.... We are trying to connect all the dots."

The state fair's latest statement says, in part (referencing a morning commission meeting):

The Commission reiterated that the statements and actions Saturday night were inappropriate and not in keeping with the Fair's standards. The Missouri State Fair apologizes for the unconscionable stunt. The Commission said the terms of the MRCA's contract to facilitate the rodeo at the Missouri State Fair are currently under review to determine additional actions that may be taken.

The cowboys association has not responded to Daily RFT's request for comment.

Missouri-State-Fair-Obama-2.jpg
Courtesy of Perry Beam

The Missouri State Fair is a taxpayer-funded, government-organized event with a commission associated with the Department of Agriculture. The fair received more than than $400,000 from taxpayers this year.

Meanwhile the clown is reportedly a man who goes by the name Tuffy Gessling, identified by Eli Yokley of PoliticMo, who tweeted this screengrab of his short Facebook apology:

rodeo-clown-apology.jpg
via Twitter / @eyokley

That post on his personal Facebook page has either been removed or is not visible to us. Gessling has not addressed the controversy on his official performer Facebook page, which is public. A spokeswoman for the state fair could not confirm his identity to Daily RFT and we've left Gessling a message as well. Other local news outlets have also identified Gessling and Newman, who is looking into the matter, mentions his name to us as well.

Newman, who sent us a statement from the House Minority Caucus condemning the act, says that Ficken (also the Boonville school superintendent) and the cowboy association should not be off the hook.

"I'm concerned that the president/ announcer/ superintendent is also connected to this in ways that he is not revealing," Newman says. "He was part of the act.... He is president of the association."

She continues, "We're looking for more answers.... The association needs to be held accountable and needs to be honest about their part in this event."

tuffy-gessling-2.jpg
via Facebook
Tuffy Gessling.

Newman adds, "It's unacceptable. It's hurting the entire image of the fair. The whole fair's reputation is at stake here."

As was outlined in our earlier interview with Ficken's attorney, the announcer maintains that he was surprised as anyone with the clown and his "unscripted" remarks. Ficken, his lawyer says, only said, "Watch out for that bull Obama!" and nothing more.

Here's the state fair's full announcement this afternoon.

State Fair Takes Action Regarding Events at Rodeo Saturday Night

(SEDALIA, Mo.) - At its meeting this morning, the Missouri State Fair Commission was given a report by Missouri State Fair Director Mark Wolfe on actions taken as a result of unacceptable behavior during the Missouri Rodeo Cowboys Associations Finals Rodeo this weekend on the fairgrounds.

The Commission reiterated that the statements and actions Saturday night were inappropriate and not in keeping with the Fair's standards. The Missouri State Fair apologizes for the unconscionable stunt.

The Commission said the terms of the MRCA's contract to facilitate the rodeo at the Missouri State Fair are currently under review to determine additional actions that may be taken.

Following Fair Director Wolfe's report, the Missouri State Fair Commission unanimously approved a motion ratifying the action already taken by the Fair Director to permanently ban this rodeo clown from ever participating or performing at the Missouri State Fair again.

For more information about the Missouri State Fair, visit the Fair online at www.mostatefair.com.

And here's the full minority caucus statement:

RE: Racist incident at Missouri State Fair rodeo

"Poking fun at our president is a time-honored tradition in this country, but the incident Saturday night at the Missouri State Fair rodeo went well beyond the line. The concept of an angry bull attempting to trample a black man for the amusement of a crowd is neither entertaining nor funny and is not the type of behavior that our taxpayer-subsidized State Fair should promote.

"House Democrats will be asking House Speaker Tim Jones to immediately appoint an interim committee to investigate this incident and to consider whether continued taxpayer funding is appropriate for an event that allows such racist actions to occur."

House Minority Leader Jake Hummel
D-St. Louis

Assistant House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty
D-Kansas City

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



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224 comments
dianna.zurbriggen
dianna.zurbriggen

Our president being a black man sincerely has nothing to do with it. I don't know how many people were at the fair nor of those people how many were children. This clown taught numerous children that it was ok to disrespect the president. I happen to be white and I happen to be a vet who is appauled of how far people are willing to go. Respect is a nutral thing you teach it when young. But when you have idiots like this one doing as he did, he made a mockery of everything this nation stands for, you don't make a spectricle of yourself involving the president, period, doesn't matter what color, you simply don't do it.

tiredofignorantppl
tiredofignorantppl

" The concept of an angry bull attempting to trample a black man for the amusement of a crowd"...  So if he had been wearing a white mask it would have been okay?  He wasn't making fun of the President because he's BLACK..He's making fun of him because he's a terrible president!!

JimmyBuckets1
JimmyBuckets1

I guess we're not allowed to make fun of the President anymore. If he wore a George W. Bush mask during his Presidency, I bet nothing would have happened to him. Will the whole cast of SNL be fired next?

Sharron
Sharron

If he didn't intend to hurt anybody, then what the heck DID he intend?  Duhhhhh.Tuffy! 

e.slinkard
e.slinkard

this was a disgracefull event.  it shows missouri as a cow town with cowboys and clowns with their guns and masks.  i don't think this clown acted alone though.  i thing many others knew about it and are cowards now.  I think the entire clown group knew about it and should all be banned.  When Bill clinton was mocked, he brought that on himself with his choices with monica and disgracing the oval office and the presidency.    President has done nothing to disgrace the Presidency of the United States.  If only congress would work with him HE could do much good for this country.


blueeyts
blueeyts

I am from Missouri and I am disappointed in the fair association. What this clown did was nothing more than entertain a crowd. I was just at a rodeo in MN and the clown there also made jokes. The crowd loved it. I have to wonder if the next time a blonde joke is told if we as americans will all have to undergo "sensitivity training"? I am also disappointed in the rodeo association. Ficken should have never resigned. The rodeo association should stand behind these guys and fight back. There was nothing racial about this clowns act. If he would have been wearing a mask of any white person do you think there would have been anything said? I

blueeyts
blueeyts

I am from Missouri and I am disappointed in the fair association. This clown did nothing more than entertain a crowd. I was just at a rodeo in MN and the clown there also made jokes. The crowd loved it. I have to wonder if the next time a blonde joke is told if we as americans will all have to undergo "sensitivity training"? I am also disappointed in the rodeo association. Ficken should have never resigned. The rodeo association should stand behind these guys and fight back. There was nothing racial about this clowns act. If he would have been wearing a mask of any white person do you think there would have been anything said? I won't be attending any MO events in the future. I won't waste my money on a state that has no backbone.

billiebillyg
billiebillyg

Oh and let's not forget Bill and Hillary Clinton.  Funny nobody sued when they had skits done about them.

billiebillyg
billiebillyg

Really???  So if you are going to condemn this Rodeo Clown and the Missouri Fair for this Obama Skit then I guess you should go back and sue Saturday Night Live for all the Reagan, Palin and George W. skits they have done for years.  Really people get over yourself.  Are we no longer a nation of free speech? Are all of our rights being taken away from us?  I was a democrat for years and a proud one....No longer!

japm0717
japm0717

Really? Tax-payer funds are used routinely by leftist "artists" to promote the desecration of Jesus Christ and to produce/promote so-called "entertainment" bashing a Republican president. But if you dare to jokingly speak ill of a liberal president, you are a "racist" and your career & livelihood are threatened by the leftists? I hope we can all see the hypocritical double-standard here!

Gemini Vicki
Gemini Vicki

Tag, you're more stupid ... Kinda like the surfer dude.. that's what Obama has created. .

James Madison
James Madison

This is just stupid. Poking fun of the president is a American tradition since the days of John Adams (I'm sure someone also did the same of GeoWashington). Someone better tell Johnny Brock to stop selling Obama masks. Only GW masks are allowed in teh PC world we live in these days.

Brian Cunningham
Brian Cunningham

He should have never lost his job over something so petty as something like this. I mean really deal with bigger issue`s.

Ron Lane
Ron Lane

He was rightly banned b/c our tax dollars for him and the Missouri Rodeo Association to embarrass our state and the President of the US. I only feel sorry for the children who witnessed this.

davidratay
davidratay

@ Jay Vines, you make so many points that can be repudiated I don't even know where to start but one leaps out. You make the point that conservatives, which I proudly admit to being, deny gays equal rights. How do we do that? Is it the whole marriage thing? The  man/woman thing has been working pretty good for what, about 100,000 years or so? (wow, this conservative must believe in evolution) What group do we as a society appease next? The people that want to marry their beagle? Maybe the pedophiles are being denied because they can't marry a seven year old! Where does this stop? And what does your tirade have to do with the entire point of this article? Nobody cared when George W was bombarded 100 times worse than Uncle Barry has been but of course W didn't have a race card to play. He took it like a man. Can you say the same about your guy? And one more point, how is not wanting an unborn baby to be murdered somehow inhumane and callous but wanting a woman to be able to "choose" to end a helpless human's life "enlightened"? If you can explain that one you will be the first to do so....

Vicky Willhelm
Vicky Willhelm

It was a kkk rally, if you think this type of disrespect is acceptable you suck as a human being...

Benjamin A. Snow
Benjamin A. Snow

If the dude was wearing blackface, had a bucket of KFC, was smoking a pack of Newports or Kools, and was eatiing watermelon and drinking grape soda while calling himself "Nigbama", then I can see him getting banned. But he got banned because a bunch of booty bother liberals all because he wore an Obama mask? Okay...

Patty Lager
Patty Lager

who cares. Obama is authorizing drones to kill the innocent overseas. Please stop condoning the government by mimicking them.

Ben Mansfield
Ben Mansfield

What do the top ten cities (over 250,000) with the highest poverty rate all have in common? Detroit, MI (1st on the poverty rate list) hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since 1961 Buffalo, NY (2nd) hasn’t elected one since 1954 Cincinnati, OH -(3rd) since 1984 Cleveland, OH -(4th) since 1989 Miami, FL – (5th) has never had a Republican mayor St. Louis, MO – (6th) since 1949 El Paso, TX – (7th) has never had a Republican mayor Milwaukee , WI -(8th) since 1908 Philadelphia, PA -(9th) since 1952 Newark, NJ -(10th) since 1907

Ben Mansfield
Ben Mansfield

the most successful states in the US for job growth all have republican governors, the biggest shitholes in American, all ran for decades by democrats....the top 15 areas for poverty.... look up it up and show me where im wrong

Ben Mansfield
Ben Mansfield

sad thing is he couldn't make Obama look like near the clown he actually is

John Shadley
John Shadley

I remember the rubber President Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton masks that people wore and made jokes and jibes of. Why does wearing a President Obama mask become 'racial' and make national news !?!?! Oh...because the clown was a white guy ! It's not about race you jackasses, but the media (like politicians ) loves to put a 'spin' on everything to work people into a frenzy.

Terry Deichmann
Terry Deichmann

White African Muslims are racist. At least now this man can collect welfare and food stamps. Oops I am suppose to call food stamps, Link card to show compassion.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

"Seriously, this is getting top headlines?" fake liberal outrage keeps them from dealing with real problems that they don't want to fix...because it points out the failures of their agenda.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

"and selling our democracy to the highest bidder." didn't beyonce' give obama a million dollars? i guess money is only evil when a white guy gives it to another white guy.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

"If only our Governor and Legislators would have paid as much attention to Missouri's failing schools" lmao. ummm...that's a problem with the people in those districts. hard to get people to care about algebra when they all want to be rappers.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

if only the obama worshipers were as worried about real problems. not some rodeo clown.

John1265
John1265

I guess a white president's mask (Bush) can be repeatedly run over by a bull for the sake of entertainment and no one says a word...not a nation of pussies, but a bunch of liberal/progressive/democrat pussies..PHUCH O!...and the horse he rode in on!

Jay Brandt
Jay Brandt

Emily, you must have missed what the right did to crucify the Dixie Chicks for an off handed comment about Bush...boycotted, death threats, dropped from stations, hate rhetoric on right wing talk shows...are you kidding? And they didn't do it on our tax payer dollar..this clown can say whatever he wants...just not on our dime!

Emily Burklow
Emily Burklow

Seriously, this is getting top headlines? When W. Bush was in the president's seat, I did not see any headliners about all of the jokes surrounding him.

Tony Bologna
Tony Bologna

The guy wears a rubber mask and everyone gets butthurt. We're a nation of pussies and should be embarrassed about it.

Jay Vines
Jay Vines

The problem for progressives is that conservative values don't look like values at all. They look like prejudices, misogyny, selfishness, lack of compassion, bullying, and selling our democracy to the highest bidder. Locking away people of color in for-profit prisons and keeping people from south of the border who do our most undesirable work from becoming citizens look like prejudices and lack of compassion. Trying to force women and girls to bear unwanted children, obstructing equal pay for women, consistently trying to underfund services for battered women and children, and soft-pedaling rape sure look and feel like misogyny and lack of compassion. Constantly trying to push the Christian religion beyond home and church into schools and public squares used by people of all faiths and no faith feels like bullying. Trying to deny rights and privileges to gays, even obstructing efforts to protect gay students from bullying in schools, looks like selfishness and prejudice. Allowing business interests to take precedence over people's interests and allowing the voices of powerful corporations and wealthy people to drown out the voices of the middle class and poor could spell the end of our democracy. In foreign policy, the execution of American exceptionalism looks more like selfishness and bullying. I actually do try to see the value of conservative values, but I simply cannot see much redeeming

Jay Vines
Jay Vines

You want good schools? Stop the republiconman war on teachers, their unions and bankrupting our treasrury with tax cuts for the rich and corporations!!! People use to be entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts. Thats not the case in the republicon party anymore. Facts do not matter anymore, perception is everything........

Dawn Loehr
Dawn Loehr

Hahahahahahaha.....all BOTH sides do is attack the other. What fantasy world do you live in that it is only Republicans?

Chad Welch
Chad Welch

The legislators are the one that wrote the law that put those kids on the busses. And moving those kids from failing schools and putting them in better ones is straight out of the GOP platform. So it would seem that bussing the kids is the answer for the most of the legislators. "School choice—whether through charter schools,open enrollment requests, college lab schools, virtual schools, career and technical education programs, vouchers, or tax credits—is important for all children, especially for families with children trapped in failing schools. Getting those youngsters into decent learning environments and helping them to realize their full potentialis the greatest civil rights challenge of our time."� (Republican Platform 2012)

Steve Froemel
Steve Froemel

Dang! Didn't know the Democrats Had same playbook...coincidence?????

Hippie Granny
Hippie Granny

When you play with the lips of the mask and use a whip during the act on the Obama character, that is racist behavior. Moreover the issue is not your right to be a racist idiot, the issue is that this kind of thing should never be allowed at a state fair. Do it on your own time and your own dime.

Scandalous
Scandalous

@e.slinkard Obama is a HUGE disgrace.  He's 200 times worse than Nixon with all the IRS scandals alone.  He's worse than Clinton with all his weak actions on the war on terror, letting our embassies sit vulnerable, and 4 employees die.  Allowing Eric holder to run guns to Mexican drug cartels, who have been killing Americans for years?  Disgrace only begins to describe it. 

chickenshoes1
chickenshoes1

@davidratay Two consenting adults who want to spend the rest of their lives together is so completely, utterly different from someone forcing an arrangement upon another living creature who is unable to give consent (in other words, bestiality and pedophilia)  And if you think it's really ok for the big, bad government to step in and force a human being to use their body  to keep another person alive, then you are no conservative.  

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