It’s easy to see why announcer Mark Ficken, president of the Missouri Cowboy Rodeo Association and Boonville School Superintendent, assumed that no one would have a problem with him taunting a clown wearing an Obama mask at a Missouri State Fair bull riding competition on Saturday night. Most of the crowd appeared to be delighted when Ficken asked if anyone wanted to see “Obama run down by a bull,” and declared, “We’re going to smoke Obama, man.” However, thanks to one offended spectator, Ficken has learned that joking about the president being trampled isn’t considered all-American fun elsewhere in the nation.
Spectator Perry Beam posted photos of the event online after attending the fair with his wife and a student from Taiwan. “It wasn’t clean; it wasn’t fun. It was awful; it was sickening,” Beam said, “It was racist.” After the images went viral, State Fair officials said it was “inappropriate” and the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association issued an apology. “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,” the group said in a statement. And in addition to not wishing Obama bodily harm, “All Members of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association are very proud of our Country and our President.”