Top

blog

Stories

 

Missouri State Fair: After Rodeo Clown Obama Scandal, Pols Say Investigation Must Continue

obama-clown-1.jpg
Courtesy of Perry Beam
Rodeo clown with Obama mask.
The Missouri State Fair is over -- but concerns over the infamous rodeo clown performance are not.

The fair ended on Sunday after a full week of nonstop media coverage -- coming from all over the country -- about a clown who put on an Obama mask and performed a skit involving a bull chasing and running down the president. The crowd reportedly loved it, but at least one attendee was very offended and his account of the event, along with his photos and videos, spread virally after the stunt. Part of the outrage, which came from both Democrats and Republicans, stems from the fact that the fair is a taxpayer-funded, government-run event where critics say there should be no political commentary -- and especially no mockery that references any sort of violence.

Some Missouri lawmakers, who have been vocal since the controversy erupted, say they plan to continue investigating how this happened in the first place. That effort will include closely scrutinizing the state budget for the fair.

See also:
- Mark Ficken, State Fair Announcer in Obama Rodeo Scandal, Says Reports Are Wrong
- Missouri State Fair Rodeo Clown Identified, Permanently Banned From Performing
- State Fair Clown Tuffy Gessling Gets Huge Online Following After Obama Mask Stunt

"I and a few other legislators are going to get to the bottom of how the state fair is funded," State Rep. Stacey Newman, a Democrat, tells Daily RFT. "Those of us who have raised concerns are going to stay with it. We want answers. Missourians want answers."

Soon after the August 10 performance got national attention, the state fair officially banned the clown in question, named Tuffy Gessling. He has since become quite an online celebrity with supporters across the country arguing that these kinds of rodeo shows are common and that the clown has been unfairly targeted by the left. Here is, for example, a photo that the now very popular Support Tuffy Gessling, Professional Rodeo Entertainer Facebook page posted yesterday. The image, as you can see, has thousands of shares and likes (on a page that has more than 77,000 followers):

support-tuffy-image.jpg
via Facebook / Support Tuffy Gessling

While Gessling's fans are quick to defend him, lawmakers like Newman argue that the single clown's lifetime ban from performing at the fair does not go far enough.

"There has been a lack of oversight," Newman says. "It shows that even commissions need some oversight particularly when they are authorized to spend state dollars."

The Missouri State Fair Commission is an entity that was established by the legislature back in 1995 and includes members appointed by the governor and is affiliated with the state Department of Agriculture. The fair is actually written into state statute. The governor and state fair officials have said that they are reviewing its contract with the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association, which was behind the performance in question (though there have been disputes about who made the controversial comments and who might have sanctioned the clown stunt).

tuffy-gessling-fb-image.jpg
via Facebook
Tuffy Gessling.

Some estimates show the state fair this year received more than $400,000 from taxpayers.

The Missouri legislature is not currently in session, but Newman says at least a handful of lawmakers like herself don't want to wait until January to fully scrutinize the funding and the oversight of the fair.

"We've got to start with some of our preliminary questioning," she says. "The point is, this is a state-funded event."

representative-stacey-newman.jpg
via staceynewman.com
Representative Stacey Newman.

That means looking at how the commission is organized, "who is responsible for what, who do they report to, and how exactly have the state funds been used," she says.

Newman says she will be specifically interested in examining how the money is spent on entertainment for the fair, such as this rodeo clown performance.

The state fair is important to Missouri and increased scrutiny does not mean it needs to be defunded, she adds. "Agriculture is a pretty big industry here in the state."

The controversy, she says, "has opened up a lot of peoples' eyes.... We are staying on top of this."

In case you missed it last week, here are two videos we uploaded with footage from the attendee of the fair outraged by the performance.

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



Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
58 comments
farmgirl75
farmgirl75

I think it's very sad that people will come from all over for some STUPID clown fiasco and highlight that but THE MISSOURI STATE FAIR IS NOT ABOUT THAT!!! The fair is about the YOUTH IN AGRICULTURE and ALL THE HARD WORK they have accomplished ALL YEAR!!! 


Gene Mall
Gene Mall

For pete's sake don't we have better things to do.?

Truth700
Truth700

Its always OK until they come for you just ask the jews under Hitler in WWII. Everyone ignored what was happening as he was taking peoples rights and resources. This is much bigger than most people will understand. Hopefully we wake up before it's to late.

State Rep. Stacey Newman needs to find something that will truly help the people she represents instead of grabbing for headlines...Well she is a politician since when are they expected to solve any real problems.

Ed Anderson
Ed Anderson

what happened to freedom of speach and self expression?

Justice Rising
Justice Rising

Thats really silly and a waste of time to investigate a rodeo clwn for wearing a presidential mask. This race issue is obsurd. What else can we complian about. The beatles and there mop tops.

Michael Kidd
Michael Kidd

There was nothing racist about this. It was made racist by the race baiting media. Why did we never hear about the black rodeo clown who wore the Bush mask? Yeah, exactly. Total crap.

johnvprice
johnvprice

Several thoughts.  Old hat rodeo stunt done for most presidents over the last 20 or 30 years.  Nothing raciest about it.  Just Obama's turn.  Rodeo Clowns have a dangerous job protecting the riders and have to mix it with jokes to entertain the fans.  The clown did not hurt Missouri's reputation.  Official reaction hurt Missouri's reputation.  The clown is a popular  hero and will do fine.  The State Fair will suffer in the future. My Missouri Government totally blew it.  Somebody in my state government needs to leave their office and visit the public.  My Missouri government might be in touch with the liberal wing of the Democratic party in DC, but is totally out of touch with Missouri Democrats and Republicans alike.  And totally out of touch with rural America.  It was nothing more than an old joke done time and time again with President after President.  Yes, Missouri looks bad because of this incident, but for different reasons than our politicians believe.


Don Lanier
Don Lanier

its been so overblown already, maybe folks will think...

Andrea Martin Steel
Andrea Martin Steel

I would say more political than racist. unless the clown yelled something racists. And if it is, then the black rodeo clown waring the Hillary Clinton mask is not only racist but sexist.

Jay Vines
Jay Vines

Our country was a lot greater when the big corporations were guided by rules that protect the people of our nation...when they weren't allowed to be too-big, weren't allowed to create monopolies, weren't allowed to have undue power and influence to bully and bribe government. Capitalism is a great idea and this country has prospered under it. But if it's not regulated and controlled by the representatives of the people, it becomes what it is today, a cancerous monster that is sucking the life out of democracy.

Jay Vines
Jay Vines

Those who blame Obama for everything that the Bush administration brought on, started doing it about 2 days after he was sworn into office. They've never given him a chance and have never wanted him to accomplish anything - just as Limbaugh instructed his minions shortly after the election. The naysayers are never going to admit republican neo-con policies under Bush got us into a needless war and nearly wrecked our economy. ....

Pat Strangler
Pat Strangler

Anytime you'd like to discuss who's hurt this nation more, you just let me know... I may be a taco slinger, but I've got far more intelligence than you Jay... Tell me all of the great things this fraud of a potus has done for this nation again? $1.4 BILLION on PERSONAL vacations ALONE in 2011, SERIOUSLY? What's the debt now, $7 TRILLION MORE THAN IN 08? Welfare's up to $1.4 BILLION a year, up from

Pat Strangler
Pat Strangler

Why racists? Were the hundreds of similar actions against President Bush committed by racists too? Oh wait, those don't count, do they? Pathetic...

Pat Strangler
Pat Strangler

It's called common sense and logic, dumbass... One day you'll understand that, sadly, as usual, it'll be far too late... :( Wow, you really can't fix stupid, can you? :( So sad Jay, so very very sad... :/

Monty Hawkins
Monty Hawkins

Waste some more of the taxpayers money on an investigation!

Richard Hunt
Richard Hunt

No, you aren't a racist, are you? Your kind are the reason these "investigations" keep going on.

Richard Hunt
Richard Hunt

The event never should have happened, but it is over with. Obama isn't the first president to be mocked like this. Don't the "lawmakers" and investigators have something better to do with their time and MY tax dollars?

John Smarsh
John Smarsh

like they have nothing better to do!

Scott Creedon
Scott Creedon

But we wont be as idiotic as you. Guess we got that going for us.

Chris Owens
Chris Owens

Buzz Vickers, can u believe they are continuing to investigate this crap?

Elizabeth Jaggie
Elizabeth Jaggie

The whole thing is ridiculous! Presidents have always been subject to jokes....As long as the actual President is not being put in danger or the jokes show serious violent intentions, I don't know what all of the hoop-la is about...

Dennis Hanson
Dennis Hanson

This is nothing more than lawmakers gone dumb! Or found a way to put themselves intot the spotlight! It's not like this is the first time a publicly funded event went down the wrong path!

Mindy Brown Carney
Mindy Brown Carney

He's an ass, and it was stupid and tasteless and generally obnoxious - as well as an embarrassing national story, again, for Missouri. BUT, our lawmakers seriously have more work to do than "investigate" stupid. Start by figuring out how so many people grow up to BE so stupid, and perhaps work on getting science and critical thinking back into schools? Just a thought.

Michael Mahler
Michael Mahler

It's a dead issue. Let it go. He was reprimanded. Hopefully he learned something about tact.

Ronald Snyder
Ronald Snyder

who have they been polling ? I have not gotten pulled if someone does not want someone wearing a mask with them on it they should not run for president .

Jay Vines
Jay Vines

When you turn off right wing propaganda and actually find out all the horrible crap the republiconmen are doing you will be as pissed as I am!!

Barry Bean
Barry Bean

Absolutely! No opportunity to take offense and find fault must be missed! Heaven forbid we should allow a clown to lampoon a public figure! We ned the government to step in and police all entertainment, all humor, all public activities! Can you imagine what would have happened if the colonists had been alowed to lampoon the King?

Pat Strangler
Pat Strangler

Wow, I just read the rest of your BS, and you actually believe all of that?!? Where do you get your "news" again? O.o LMAO! Ya just can't make this stuff up, can ya? ;) You betcha!

Jay Vines
Jay Vines

You have those right wing talking points of the 2012 presidential campaign down real good Pat. I can see why the best job you can get is taco bell. Why do uneducated people such as yourself support a political party that does everything they possibly can against you?? I call that being a dumbass!!!

Jean Whitney
Jean Whitney

Its like Benghazi. It happened, clown banned, someone resigned, and we know there are definitely racists at MO state fair this year. What's left to investigate?

Pat Strangler
Pat Strangler

Hey Jay, DUMBASS... The libturds had COMPLETE control over the Senate, the House and the WH, so tell me, where are those jobs? Wow, still blaming the republicans aye? Tell me, how is it that Barry Soetoro spends more in ONE MONTH than Bush did in 7yrs on 2 wars?!? Oh, but it's the republicans, right? Wow, you really can't fix stupid, can ya? Tell me ONE THING that Beck or Hannity have been wrong about, just one... Wow, you sir, are a piece of work, brain dead perhaps? Miss your meds today? Wake up fool! You want stats? Go to the CBO and get all you want on your FRAUD OF A FAILURE AS A POTUS! The man's done NOTHING for this nation, not a single thing!

Kevin Rotellini
Kevin Rotellini

I guess if he would have been dressed as a donkey that too would have offended people since either way he's a jackass

Ksmith Wash
Ksmith Wash

YES! Let it continue! There should be a higher level of respect for any and all Presidents! Racism & overall disrespect should NOT be tolerated by anyone!

Rick Kohn
Rick Kohn

the secret service should investigate people that write blogs instead of comments.

Jay Vines
Jay Vines

The secret service should investigate all people wanting to hurt our president. Where are the jobs republicons???? In the first two years of the Obama administration, republicans broke all historical records for use of the fillibuster. This is easily verified with a simple search. It's called "obstructionism." Here's the playbook of most republicans...Increase negativity as much as possible and avoid all previous GOP failures. Use obstructionism, and distortions as much as possible, even if it hurts the recovery of the nation, with the sole purpose of regaining Congress and the White House.During Bushs disgraceful presidency y'all said things like: "If you don't like him (Bush jr, Cheney, etc etc) you can leave", "he won you lost, get over it!", "if you dare question, criticize, or attack the President, his policies, his staff, or his family than you are an anti-American un-patriotic terrorist lover!"... and then of course in November of 2008 they all said... "well if that black man wins I'm leaving the country" - Rush, Hannity, Billo, Beck, republicans, you can still leave! Again and again y'all prove just what hypocritical fools y'all are!!Y'all are the same people who screamed bloody murder over the Dixie Chicks for daring to criticize the President of the United States and are now cheering on Ted Nugent for insinuating he'd like to kill the President of the United States. I guess for them, it really isn't the office that demands respect, as many of them argued at the time. It's not all about patriotism for your country. It's all about the money and power.... anti god beliefs.....

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

"some lawmakers". i think we all know who that "some" are.

Steve Froemel
Steve Froemel

Drop it....Including these stupid survey's asking about it....People starving here in America,homeless.....no insurance....AND A CLOWN IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT.....GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rick Firestein
Rick Firestein

The spook in the White House needs investigating!!

michael.brotherton
michael.brotherton

@Jay Vines You don't live in a democracy... it's a Constitutional Republic.  


michael.brotherton
michael.brotherton

@Jay Vines Just like the communists in our midst will never admit to what they are, including B. Hussein Obama.

Now Trending

St. Louis Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...