Obama Rodeo Clown Incident Illustrates Nation’s Continued Racial Divide

Philip Rucker, Washington Post, August 15, 2013

As some people at the Missouri State Fair see it, the rodeo incident last weekend in which a ringleader taunted a clown wearing a mask of President Obama and played with his lips as a bull charged after him was neither racist nor disrespectful.

It was a joke, they said, overblown by a news media that’s hypersensitive to any possible slight against the nation’s first black president. They said the hooting and hollering from the crowd that night was because of a fundamental dislike of the president.


The rodeo incident and the clown at the center of it have become the latest illustration of racial divisions that continue to surface nearly five years into Obama’s presidency.

A three-minute amateur video of the rodeo act was picked up by news outlets worldwide. Democratic and Republican elected officials in Missouri quickly condemned the incident, saying it was offensive and inappropriate at a taxpayer-funded event with children in attendance. Asked about it Wednesday, a White House spokesman said that it was not one of Missouri’s “finer moments.”

But there has also been a backlash on the right, with conservative radio talk show hosts and writers dismissing the act as a joke no different from jabs aimed at other presidents. Moreover, they said, the president’s supporters ought to learn how to take a joke rather than seeing everything as racially motivated. Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.), who tweeted that liberals are “thin-skinned and totalitarian,” has invited the clown to perform at rodeos in Texas.

There is a long history of mocking politicians at rodeos, and clowns have donned masks of other presidents as part of their acts. But James Staab, a political science professor at the University of Central Missouri, said last week’s incident “goes beyond the pale—they’re talking about physical injury and racial stereotypes.”

Whether the scene at the state fair was meant merely as mockery or something more sinister, there was no room for nuance among a dozen fairgoers interviewed Wednesday. There was near universal agreement that the incident was all in good fun, and disapproval of the president crossed into a deep, personal hatred, often tinted in racial terms.

“I was raised to think the blacks were bad; I’m not gonna lie. We lived on one side of the tracks, and they lived on the other,” said Margaret Abercrombie, 68, who is white and grew up along the Mississippi River in Sikeston, Mo.

Abercrombie said she voted twice for Obama but didn’t find anything wrong with the rodeo act. As she rode her motorized wheelchair to the grandstands at the rodeo arena, which on this day hosted tractor pull races, Abercrombie said the anti-Obama sentiments she encounters are based on race.

“You hear the farmers here, they just don’t like him because he’s black,” Abercrombie said. Pointing across the fairgrounds to the cattle barns, she added, “I’m surprised they ain’t got a cow over there named Obama.”


At the rodeo here last Saturday night, a clown wearing an Obama mask stood on the arena’s dirt floor, propped up like a straw man with the appearance that a broom stick was going up his backside. A second clown called him “ya big goober.” Before letting the bull loose to charge at the clown with the Obama mask, the second clown provided live narration over the loudspeakers:

“Obama, they’re coming for you this time.”

“He’s going to getcha, getcha, getcha.”

“Yahoo! We’re gonna smoke Obama.”

In the stands, Perry Beam was so sickened by the scene he began recording it.

“It reminded me of a [Ku Klux] Klan rally,” Beam said. “It had that hateful aspect. It was the way they cheered, the anger in it. . . . You can disagree with a government policy, but that doesn’t prompt you to put a stick up his [backside] and incite the crowd to say how many of you want to see him be trampled by a bull. To wish that on somebody is hateful.”

Beam’s video led Missouri’s elected officials to strongly condemn the act. Mark Ficken, the rodeo announcer, resigned as president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association—although Ficken’s lawyer, Albert Watkins, said it was actually the ringleader clown, Tuffy Gessling, who made the inflammatory remarks.


Missouri State Fair officials permanently banned Gessling from future performances. On Wednesday, an apology was issued on a Twitter account that appeared to be from Gessling, saying, “Thank you to the folks that are in support of what I did, and to those I have offended I am sorry I never ment [sic] any harm.”


On Facebook, fans began a support group for Gessling. It had more than 60,000 “likes” by late Thursday. One organizer posted that Gessling is grateful for the support and is trying to arrange some public appearances.



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  • I’ve never been a personal witness to something that’s been such a non-issue on the inside yet such a big deal on the outside. Virtually nobody here actually at the fair much cares.

    I read this article earlier today, as I’m sure half the people here who have smartphones did, and I ask myself: Did the WaPo writer who wrote this make sure his passports and shots were current before he came here? The way it’s written, it sure reads like he thinks he actually had to travel to a foreign country.

    • Erasmus

      Everyone knows it wasn’t Obama.

      If it looks like Obama but is actually working, instead of playing golf, chain smoking or reading from a teleprompter, it most certainly is not Obama.

      • NordicHeritage

        He was wearing his mom jeans so it could have been him lol.

    • SFLBIB

      I’ve always wondered why “DC Follies” was taken off the air. Now I have my suspicions.

  • WmarkW

    What also isn’t a joke, is that the Post website didn’t allow commenting under this article. The Post allows commenting under essentially every story and column, except this one.

    How do they expect to deal with a racial divide by not discussing it?

    • serious123

      Of course they don’t want it discussed. You can’t foster a racial divide if you actually allow people to debate and resolve the issues.

      • Erasmus

        We’re finally having that long sought-after conversation on race and the left is livid. The truth is coming out, and that scares them.
        What they had wanted was their delivering a one-sided hectoring, and us listening, but they’re not getting what they had planned.
        Ideally, members of the left would draw the all important lesson from this: You can’t control the world, people, events and life, hard as you might try, so best to humbly recognize what’s beyond your control and, like an adult, set your goals onto something more realistic than what you and your fellow “elites” dreamt up over cold pizza and warm beer back when you were undergraduates.

    • Greg Thomas

      They don’t want to deal with it, they want to promote it.

    • jane johnson

      The Kansas City Star has “disabled” commenting for all stories related to this non-incident; except in the business section. Hmmmmm…

  • MekongDelta69

    The country has gone down the sewer, but all blacks (and idiot leftists) have been worried about this last week, is a clown who imitated another clown.

    But, but, but… MD69 – He is a black clown and therefore untouchable.

    Ahh yes – sorry. What was I thinking?

  • Spartacus

    “You hear the farmers here, they just don’t like him because he’s black,”


    If true, then they sound like my kind of people .

    • That’s only one of the reasons lots of folks hate him.

      • Spartacus

        I realize that, but I’m hoping it’s the main one.

    • cancerous bananna

      I have a cow I just named Obama.. I used to call her Ugly.. but the way she kicks and stands there staring at you blankly.
      So ugly even the bull won’t mate her, and the other cows bash her around because she’s stupid..
      So ulgly her name is obama.
      A stick up the bottom made me laugh the hardest

  • Rhialto

    I disagree. It’s not a matter of racial division. It’s just one more example of the ongoing war against non-Liberal White men, especially those who fight back.

    • QuinnTheEskimo9

      Thread winner, Rhialto.

  • In the stands, Perry Beam was so sickened by the scene he began recording it.

    So sickened by it he had to record it in an attempt to get his five seconds of fame, rather than just leave.

    “I’m surprised they ain’t got a cow over there named Obama.”

    They wouldn’t name a cow Obama, but they might say they stepped in some “Obama”.

    • bigone4u

      It would be an insult to the bovine species to apply the Obama name to it. Stick with Elsie and Elmer when naming cows. Those names have dignity.

      • cancerous bananna

        Depends on the cow really.. if its a dumb cow that goes against the herd, and if its really ugly and no good for meat.. and if it kicks and bucks when you try to milk her..
        Then Obama the shitter works just fine.

      • ClaveDark

        How about Moochelle?

        • bigone4u

          What do you have against cows? I would never name a poor innocent big-eyed beautiful creature Moochelle. In fact, for me at least, the “First Lady” (no lady is she) has ruined the old Paul McCartney song, Michelle, My Belle.

    • He saw it, took out his phone, and sent the video to a kook left blog in Kansas City. They post it, the Kansas City Star picks up on it, they run with it, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch immediately follows suit, and it hits the MSM jet stream.

      This means the news cycle is being driven by stuffed shirt blacks and nutroots blogs.

    • Irishgirl

      There is a cow named Obama. First name, Michelle.

      Sorry. I know that was a low blow, but I just couldn’t pass it up.

      • bigone4u

        I have more frequently seen Internet commenters refer to the lady in question as an animal species native to Africa.

  • NeanderthalDNA

    “It reminded me of a [Ku Klux] Klan rally,” Beam said. “It had that hateful aspect. It was the way they cheered, the anger in it. . . . You can disagree with a government policy, but that doesn’t prompt you to put a stick up his [backside] and incite the crowd to say how many of you want to see him be trampled by a bull. To wish that on somebody is hateful.”

    I’d be perfectly OK with putting a stick up your [backside] and inciting a crowd to say how much they would like to see you trampled by a bull. Mr. Beam. Unless your first name’s Jim, of course. But in that you are likely of Euro-American persuasion and sound rather libtardy (why were you at a rodeo, I wonder?), guess I must not be “racist”.

    Oh, and actually according to the silly ol’ constitution, such is free speech, buddy. Got a problem with it?

    • Lagerstrom

      Has this fellow been to a Ku Klux Klan rally then?
      Politicians throughout history have been mocked, I thought it was all part of the game.

      • Sick of it

        Politicians were more heavily mocked by the press in the 18th century than they are today. We have a controlled press today.

  • bigone4u

    The clown in Missouri mocking the clown in DC created a firestorm of protest and subsequent groveling. Why the protest? It’s just another minor skirmish in the larger battle to silence all critics of the New World Order Agenda. The power elites will use the MSM to destroy anyone not on board with their race mixing, immigration loving, white genocide totalitarianism. These days there’s a new victim of the NWO every week, designed to teach the rest of us a lesson. But there are also thousands of comments on the Internet showing that many understand the insanity of the destruction of good people for no good reason. The most despicable part is how quickly jellyfish politicians in the “show me” state jumped aboard the lefty bandwagon. Grow a spine you politicians or at least shut up..

  • Triarius

    Had this been a “W” masked rodeo clown in Kansas City back in 2006, this would have been no big deal. We all know it. The clown should sue, on principle at the least. Flag burning is protected under the 1st Am. as an act of expression with a person’s disagreement of a political act, law, proposal, etc. There is little difference in that and this.

    • It wasn’t W., but H.W. in 1994: But in 1994, Douglas A. Campbell, a writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer chronicled a rodeo clown even featuring George H.W. Bush.

      washingtonexaminer dot com/in-1994-there-was-a-george-bush-rodeo-clown-dummy/article/2534201

    • Erasmus

      A lack of humor and a stick always up the butt are sine qua nons of being a leftist.

      Even dyed-in-the-wool republicans would have howled with laughter to see a rodeo clown wearing a “W” mask

  • Spartacus

    I think it’s cute how the clown dressed like a monkey .

  • seriously people (libtards) that is. grow up you little children! Its not like people got shot unlike rap concerts that is.

  • Irishgirl

    98%? I think it was closer to 103%!

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    The silly mask is another phony, manufactured distraction to divert attention away from the obama administration’s continuing scandals and utter failure and incompetence.

    G.W. Bush was depicted as a chimp, hanged in effigy and burned, dismembered, torn to shreds and decapitated by bulls, shown in chains and portrayed as Bozo and Hitler. Even HBO’s “Game of Thrones” had George W. Bush’s head on a stake — all of which was thought hilarious by the very ones who are now “outraged” and “horrified” over an obama mask.

    Typical leftoid hypocrisy and double standards.

    The headline:

    Obama Clown Banned Forever

    Should read:

    Obama Clown Banned Forever

    Tell ‘em how you really feel:

    [email protected]

    I just did.


  • sbuffalonative

    Will it become illegal to produce or wear masks of Obama? Is this the new precedent? Can we expect that from now on, we are no longer allowed to wear the mask of a President (or just black Presidents)? Will political cartoon caricatures be banned?

    This is universal black behavior; something you’d see in deepest, darkest Africa. ‘Our Chief must not be mocked!’

    • Ridiculing sitting Presidents is an old tradition in the United States, but blacks and their enablers are such infantile, thin-skinned whiners that yes, they want the First Railway Baggage Porter-in-Chief to be exempt.

      I wouldn’t be suprised if the Attorney Shoe-Shine Boy General wasn’t hitting the books right now, looking for some obscure federal statute to charge Gessling with.

      • Aditya Vivek Barot

        Mr Scott:

        Perhaps you can appreciate the true horror of this situation. On western tradition, the fool, or clown, was the only person allowed to “speak truth to power.” His person was inviolable.

        The alien races and degraded whites that have this nation by the hairs of its head are tearing down two millennia of tradition brick by brick, and “Americans,” don’t even care.

        How do you help a peoples that is determined to do away with itself?

        • Bon, From the Land of Babble

          Soon, no one will remember King Lear – in England it will be burned and banned as “an affront to allah” — in the U.S., banned and shunned as a product of a “dead, White male” and therefore “irrelevant.”

          Yes, our unique traditions, holidays and culture are being mocked, debased and impugned by non-Whites who see nothing but evil when it comes to Whites -just as they’ve been taught by the government, media and schools.

          In Los Angeles, street names are being changed to honor Mexican heroes. We are losing our culture, heritage AND in 50 years time, our homelands will be gone.

          You’re right that most Americans don’t care – shows how deep the brainwashing goes, doesn’t it. White Americans don’t seem to have a clue that they’re homelands are being wrested away from them by non-Whites with historical grievances agains the White race.

          Cui Bono? and, importantly — What then?


    • QuinnTheEskimo9

      I ordered an Obama mask for Halloween, there’s been a run on them with thousands being ordered. Get one while you can.

  • Ted

    Bet the mask was made in China!

  • Spartacus

    You know what I’d do if I had a spare 2-3 million dollars ? I’d buy a paper factory in the US, and start selling toilet paper with Obama’s face on it . I’d be a billionaire before he leaves the White house .

    • KevinPhillipsBong

      Obama toilet paper’s a bad idea because you’d never be able to tell when you were done wiping.

  • libertarian1234

    The arrogance of blacks on display for all to see.

    Each one thinks of himself as a king or queen.

    When somebody ridicules the anointed one, it is the same as insulting them personally.

    Rush said such a reaction had only one equal and that was when the cartoon of Mohammed was published in a paper and the faithful went berserk.

  • Sick of it

    Whatever were we thinking. We have a president who is literally supporting a terrorist organization against which we have been at war, but we should hold hands and sing kumbaya. Uh no, actually he should be in prison for treason. Liberals are insane.

  • shawnmer

    “Obama Rodeo Clown Incident Illustrates Nation’s Continued Racial Divide”

    No, what this is is an illustration of how 12% of the population has, over the past 5 years , inexplicably lost its collective mind with persecution complex, despite being more politically powerful at any time in the existence of the republic.

    Damn, get a life!

  • lily-white

    I too felt a lot of deep regret when I first ran across this article… Regret that I wasn’t in attendance and further regret that the bull didn’t run down the clown…

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    I could have predicted this long ago: any criticism of Obama (and any other black figurehead for that matter) now and perpetually in the future, is racist, racist, RACIST! If he’s black, he cannot and must not be lampooned or criticized…EVER.

  • IKantunderstand

    This is nothing more than another attack on our first amendment rights. It never stops! You mark my words, there is a slow erosion of our rights in this country. First, they came for the clowns, but I wasn’t a clown, so I said nothing. Sounds like I’m being funny, and, I sort of am making fun, but trying to point out the similarities between what happened in Nazi Germany, and what is currently happening in Fascist America. My apologies for my snarkiness, but it’s not my fault. America made me this way, I’m a victim. We all are.

  • Major

    But this was “cool” and accepted, right?

  • Ella

    The bull is part of the rodeo entertainment to make people laugh. Many comedians made their careers using ethnic slurs and jokes, right or wrong. Oh yeah, like SNL didn’t do tacky and tasteless but sometime, funny parodies of US presidents over the years. People still make fun of Nixon and Bush to this day but they’re White guys.

  • IstvanIN

    This man deserves prison time. He insulted our Great Leader. His family should be exiled. Hate crimes can not be tolerated under any circumstances.

    • Especially not when they’re funny. Gressling should have worn a fake tail. He wouldn’t be in any more trouble than he is now.

  • Southern__Hoosier

    “The devill . . the prowde spirite . . cannot endure to be mocked.”-Thomas More

    • TheAntidote

      If the hat fits, wear it.

  • TheAntidote

    It’s not hypocrisy it’s black supremacy. We live in black ruled America.

  • Stan D Mute

    At risk of sounding like a broken record..

    We are dealing with a group whose average (AVERAGE) IQ is only (ONLY) 85.

    Thus we see the term “n-word” (ENWERD) bandied about as if we are all in second grade and need to use the restroom (“teacher! I need to go make the p-word”). And, in a great sense given the IQ of the subject term, we are dealing with second graders.

    If this group is so intellectually stunted that mere sight of “the n-word” (ENWERD) in print will cause their heads to explode and make them uncontrollably assault any white people or burn their own neighborhoods, can we really expect them to understand such mature concepts as political humor or satire? Really? Everything (EVERYTHING) must be written, produced, and recorded so as not to offend the sensibilities of the second grader. This is just one of the “joys of diversity” which our political elites have bequeathed to us.

    And of course there is nothing new here at all. The earliest European explorers of Africa described its denizens as “devil children.”

  • I suspect that him cancelling the 2016 election would result in an immediate, all-out civil war that would see blacks extinct in North America by the time it was over.

  • Jamal: “Let’s see. It’s late August and hot and humid here in Missouri, but the water park is so 15 minutes ago. I’m bored with XBox, and don’t feel like picking up a course catalog for fall semester at the local community college or looking for a job. I’ve just turned 18 and will definitely be charged as an adult, so… I know: I think I’ll shoot up a crowd of strangers. ”

    Yes, they really are this stupid.

  • Evette Coutier

    Even if the intent was racist, so what. Racism is not illegal. Obama and Eric Holder make racist comments. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  • MBlanc46

    I remember Nixon masks being worn by the hundreds at events in the 1970s. I’m sure the WP approved of those. I’m pretty sure similar masks have been made of other recent presidents. People are entitled to oppose Obama’s policies and to dislike him personally on whatever grounds they wish.

    • Nixon: “Sock it to me on (Rowan and Martin’s) Laugh-In.”

      • MBlanc46

        I’d forgotten about that. You’ve got to give the old reprobate credit for appearing on a program that took the mickey out of authority.

  • I wish the NAACP would call on blacks to boycott Missouri.

  • John R

    Maybe it WAS disrespectful. But I DON’T CARE!!! Obama has BLATENLY injected race into so many issues-expressing his HATRED against White people over and over:
    1. When black Harvard professor Harold Louis Gates was questioned by police, Obama-even before knowing the situation, commented “the police behaved stupidly.”
    2. Described his mother as “a typical white person” (WTF?).
    3. And I don’t have to repeat the infamous, “if I had a son…” remark, do I?
    No. This president is not worthy of any respect from any White person in this country.

  • libertarian1234

    Could there have been any kind of white preaching and warnings from anybody that would have exposed all the latent anti-white hate from blacks as the election of the community organizer brought out?

    Had he not been elected there would still be millions of fawning white, clueless supporters who have been either supportive of blacks and all things black or mind-numbed, programmed Kool-Aid drinkers. But many have fallen by the side.

    Even some of the Kool-Aid drinkers are starting to stutter a bit when they sing their songs.
    And he still has three more years to pursue his pro-black agenda.

  • Erasmus

    FBI statistics prove it: If you’re ever raped, beaten or mugged by an unknown assailant/assailants, he/they probably look a lot like Barack Obama.

  • Erasmus

    They should do a rodeo clown dressed like Rachel Jeantel. That the clown could move at more than a hurried waddle would tell everyone it really wasn’t the would-be Mrs. Skittles.


    Re: “Hypersensitivity”

    “When you increase the sensitivity, you increase the false alarm rate.” — Old radar engineering proverb

  • IstvanIN

    Isn’t common to make parodies of politicians and other public figures? Unless, of course, if they are black.

  • Epiminondas

    This is the signal for millions of us to buy those masks and mock El Presidente at every occasion.

  • Elena Andbasket

    This is one of the things that I find most detestable about the politically correct. They are ultra-sensitive about their sacred cows and constantly bleat about perceived offenses, insults and insensitivities. Politically correct ‘comedians’ in the MSM consistently use the most vile scatological insults directed at their opponents. They are the first to point out and mock any imagined or real physical or anatomical defect. Yet they claim to suffer psychological torment on behalf of their pets at the merest hint of an insult.

    I heard a joke recently:

    A woman got onto a bus with her baby. The driver looked at the baby and proclaimed “Urgh! That is the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen, it’s horrible”. The woman was upset and speechless at this insult. She paid, sat down and started to cry. Another passenger sitting nearby who hadn’t heard what the driver said, approached the sobbing woman and asked what was the problem. She explained that the bus driver had insulted and offended her. The other passenger said “He’s not allowed to insult passengers like that. He should have a driver number. Ask for his number and report him to the bus company. Go on, I’ll hold your monkey for you”.

    I told somebody this joke and I was informed that it is apparently racist. I didn’t think so when heard it. Perceived racism is obviously in the mind of the beholder.