Rodeo clowns to endure sensitivity training

The sad state of modern rodeo clowning. (AP)

The sad state of modern rodeo clowning. (AP)

It has been a ‘Tuffy’ week for rodeo clowns.

The fateful decline of the sacred art of rodeo clownage began Aug. 10, when a man later identified by family as Tuffy Gessling dared to don the mask of a U.S. president and taunt a large, horned ruminant.

Like many bad things, this happened in Missouri, a state barely qualified to compete at the highest level of college football.

As Tuffy wore the mask, the rodeo announcer asked the assembled crowd of people who think animals don’t feel pain like humans if they wanted to see “Obama run down by a bull.”

The crowd screamed its approval, maybe because they were there to be entertained and figured the man in the Obama mask was likely not the actual president of the U.S. but a man who had agreed to entertain them with lively and potentially dangerous and politically incorrect antics.

Unfortunately for clowns, this attempt at humor was deemed an affront on taste, decency and perhaps even theology not seen since Ignatius J. Reilly last pushed a hot dog cart across Jackson Square.

The rodeo clown’s behavior was likened to “some kind of Klan rally,” by spectator Perry Beam. “[It] was cruel. It was disturbing. I’m still sick to my stomach over it … I’ve never seen anything so blatantly racist in my life … If an old country boy picks up on something like that, imagine what a person of color would think.”

The state fair commission banned the rodeo clown for life, a move which more than one tormented bull applauded.

The president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association, Mark Ficken, resigned because another “rogue clown” at the event was also not expelled.

That wasn’t enough. Now, all rodeo clowns in the state of Missouri must undergo sensitivity training.

Ficken, who moonlights as a superintendent of schools when he’s not working with clowns, is being investigated by the school district and may lose his job.

It seems like a long time ago, but it used to be considered funny when entertainers wore the masks of presidents in ridiculous situations. There was even a popular movie that starred shotgun-toting ex-presidents violently robbing banks.

In 1994, at least one rodeo clown act featured a dummy wearing a George H.W. Bush mask.

And now you know why clowns cry.

60 comments Add your comment

Skynyrd

August 14th, 2013
9:21 am

What we need here are a few more CRY BABIES !!!

Hop-A-Long

August 14th, 2013
9:24 am

I would like to comment but I’m afraid I will have to take sensitivity training. Don’t these people have anything better to do?

Jsjbug

August 14th, 2013
9:26 am

“That wasn’t enough. Now, all rodeo clowns in the state of Missouri must undergo sensitivity training.”

I can’t beleive the Missouri Rodeo Clown Union didn’t fight this!!

Candy Cane

August 14th, 2013
9:34 am

I must say, this was one of the more interesting articles I read today on the AJC!

Fletch

August 14th, 2013
9:34 am

Good God. What a joke – do we need to do sensitivity training for everyone who ragged on GW for a decade? How about producing a full length sitcom?

When we lose the ability to speak freely about our leaders in this country, we have lost more than we know.

Fletch

August 14th, 2013
9:38 am

BTW – this was all ordered by the NAACP and the Justice Department. Reeducation camps to follow shortly. Let me know when you all have had enough of this BS.

MotocrossSurvivor

August 14th, 2013
9:38 am

No “re-education” for the Bush event, but needed for the Obama event. Now, there’s fair play. I actually supported Obama the first time (for lack of anything better), but face it, people hate him, and he has done more to separate the races than anything else. His presidency has been a disaster, and getting worse.

trailboss

August 14th, 2013
9:39 am

I hope you remember what you said come 2014…After 2014 election it we be along time before you have a voice in anything. Next we are going to have a WOMEN president. SO GETREADY

Tim T.

August 14th, 2013
9:42 am

Great article Geo. I personally believe the Radio Clown should be hung by the neck until dead and that they should ban all Radios west of the Mississippi for one year.

Bhorsoft

August 14th, 2013
9:57 am

The writer obviously didn’t get his journalism degree at Mizzou – probably from one of those SEC schools where partying takes precedence over learnin’.

Just wait. One year Mizzou will be SEC champs!.

Brandon

August 14th, 2013
9:59 am

I would have liked to see the bull run down the worst president ever, even if it was just his fake face on another person. IMPEACH OBAMA!

Brandon

August 14th, 2013
10:01 am

Oh, and this writer is obviously a biased moron!

Me

August 14th, 2013
10:05 am

What a joke! This is the Obama supporters at their finest!

BullDawgFan4Life

August 14th, 2013
10:08 am

This sort of racist, disgusting antic should not be done on the public dime. Both the Republican and Democratic government officials in Missouri have condemned this act.

SBinF

August 14th, 2013
10:10 am

After reading the comments here, the only words I can muster to describe the conservative movement in this country are, “intellectually bankrupt.”

Enjoy your fall into irrelevancy, as your base (bitter old white people) continues to die out. I mean really, it’s a viable long-term strategy for survival.

Not.

Government Edgy-cated

August 14th, 2013
10:21 am

Not sure what is scarier….the prospect of large scale government mandated re-education facilities….or a sensitive clown…..(shudder)

The Thin Guy

August 14th, 2013
10:24 am

Any unemployed clowns can get a job writing left wing drivel for the ajc. Meanwhile if you want informed political commentary you can’t go wrong with Egyptian belly dancers.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/belly-dancer-protests-president-obama-song-article-1.1418070

Too bad bulls can’t vote.

yancyb

August 14th, 2013
10:25 am

@Brandon, I am sure you could do a better job of being the President. Not!

Howard

August 14th, 2013
10:28 am

So let me get this straight…for 8 years it was OK to don Bush masks and make fun of him at every turn…from Hollywood to the music industry to academia…and endure books and even a movie about how kill GWB and we were all told to respect the perpetrators’ freedom of speech and to understand the underlying themes behind their hatred. Now swing ahead to 2013 when we have a real disaster and yes…a clown…in office and it’s totally hands off this whining, petulant, narcissistic man-child. That rodeo mask was a fitting tribute to our fearless and beloved leader…there was Obama waiting to be run over by a bull…in this case the bull coming towards him is Obamacare.

General Robert E. Lee

August 14th, 2013
10:30 am

By the way, the same rodeo clown did this with a George Bush mask on and not one single word from anybody including our beloved Obama worshiping liberal media.

Thurgood Jenkins

August 14th, 2013
10:30 am

I love how everything in the country points to racism. If we were in Europe and this happened with a Bush or Obama mask, I am sure nothing would have been said. Seems that this guy whose “stomach was hurting” needs to quit being such a sissy. At the end of the day, there are more important social issues going on.

General Robert E. Lee

August 14th, 2013
10:31 am

Maybe this hits too close to home because we do in fact have a clown as a president. His entire administration is a joke!

saywhat???

August 14th, 2013
10:36 am

People are so bitter and disrespectful to each other these days. Why can’t we be kind to one another?
Why can’t we love our neighbor?

MoFaux

August 14th, 2013
10:42 am

Apparently a lot of commenters here would also be fine if they hung a dummy with an Obama mask by a noose. I mean, we “made fun of” Bush for years, so why can’t we do things like pretend to kill an image of Obama with a family-friendly bull-running? I swear, the 10-member Georgia chapter of KKK is busy blogging today. Or, is this retribution for the Game of Thrones having Bush’s head on a pike?

Redcoat

August 14th, 2013
10:49 am

Tim T needs sensitivity training…….(rolling eyes)

Dusty2

August 14th, 2013
10:52 am

Now, now, let’s not upset our president. His golf game will be terrible all week. . Martha’s Vineyard will be abuzz. Caddies will be taking sensitivity training.

The Opinionator

August 14th, 2013
11:00 am

To all of the Republican Idiot Class…..

Stop STINKING up America.

Decent people can smell your racism and it smells like BS.

Hate has consequences.

BTW…The Obamas have more class than all of you Idiots.

Pass the LYSOL. It stinks around here.

sUGAr_daddy_DAWG

August 14th, 2013
11:01 am

Looks like “Clowning Around” will have a negative racist connotation now.

Enduring Confederate Idiots

August 14th, 2013
11:03 am

So let’s get this straight…they are “enduring” sensitivity training as if to say it’s I dunno a pain-staking 17 hour operation or sex with their fathers and sisters which given that it’s “missoura” isn’t such a stretch much the backwoods Georgian trash that made negative comments on this post! The hatred you idiots hold for a our President is deplorable much like the sight of most of you and your children. George Mathis I’d love to “endure” watching your face smash into a break wall…repeatedly.

The Opinionator

August 14th, 2013
11:05 am

@Dusty2

August 14th, 2013
10:52 am
Now, now, let’s not upset our president. His golf game will be terrible all week. . Martha’s Vineyard will be abuzz. Caddies will be taking sensitivity training.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

For someone who has never been in 10 miles of Martha’s Vineyard…

You sure got a lot of nerve.

STAY in your lane with the Honey Boo Boo Clan.

Everybody don’t like to go road kill hunting on their vacation.

You better REDNECKONIZE.

Equality, you say?

August 14th, 2013
11:08 am

Why can rodeo clowns make fun of the first 43 Presidents of the United States and wear caricature masks, but NO ONE is allowed to make fun of POTUS # 44?

The Opinionator

August 14th, 2013
11:09 am

@sUGAr_daddy_DAWG

August 14th, 2013
11:01 am
Looks like “Clowning Around” will have a negative racist connotation now.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

WILL HAVE?????

It does have.

Mr. Suga Daddy Dawg are you related to SUGA BEAR of the

Honey Boo Boo clan?

I can SMELL the rotted road kill on your breath.

Equality, you say?

August 14th, 2013
11:13 am

Is it “insensitive” to make fun of the incompetency and lack of intelligence of the 44th President due to:

A.) The darker hue of his flesh tone that makes him immune to criticism

B.) His handicap that makes it impossible to articulate a non-sports-related thought with reading it directly from a teleprompter

C.) His “diversity” by having an alleged bi-sexual affair with another male

D.) His unwavering support base of puppets in the press and Hollywood

E.) All of the above

deb k

August 14th, 2013
11:15 am

All Hale king! do NOT EVER make fun of the KING! A white guy, Christian, or conservative, do whatever say whatever that’s “free speech? Ever wonder what it was like in 1925 Germany? You do now!

SBinF

August 14th, 2013
11:16 am

Lack of intelligence….lol.

I’m certain the irony is lost on you.

CeeCee

August 14th, 2013
11:17 am

I think the better idea is “get over it” training. Good grief! People are offended by EVERYTHING these day…lighten up already!!

The Opinionator

August 14th, 2013
11:18 am

@Equality, you say?

August 14th, 2013
11:13 am
Is it “insensitive” to make fun of the incompetency and lack of intelligence of the 44th President due to:

A.) The darker hue of his flesh tone that makes him immune to criticism

B.) His handicap that makes it impossible to articulate a non-sports-related thought with reading it directly from a teleprompter

C.) His “diversity” by having an alleged bi-sexual affair with another male

D.) His unwavering support base of puppets in the press and Hollywood

E.) All of the above

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Whew……..whats that SMELLLLLL?

Smells like someone forgot to clean the BULL CRAP OFF of their cowboy boots.

Oh……Maybe its the road kill they ate…

Give that man a LAXATIVE.

It stinks up in here.

Jayarby

August 14th, 2013
11:19 am

Hey, do you remember the big outrage by the national media when the same thing happen to Geo. Bush Sr back in 1994. Oh, you don’t? That’s because there wasn’t one. Here a reminder anyway: Philadelphia Inquirer on August 19, 1994:
“The big white gate flew open. The bull came out bucking. The rider
flopped from side to side and the bullfighters held back, letting the.
bull make his moves until the rider dropped off. Licciardello crouched
in a heavily padded barrel, a human target should the bull decide to.
charge. Hawkins waited near the barrel, holding his big inner tube. A
dummy with a George Bush mask stood beside the clown, propped up by a.
broomstick. [...]”
“T.J. Hawkins rolled out the big inner tube, and the bull lowered his.
head, shot forward and launched into the tube, sending it bounding down.
the center of the arena. The crowd cheered. Then the bull saw the George.
Bush dummy. He tore into it, sending the rubber mask flying halfway.
across the sand as he turned toward the fence, sending cowboys.
scrambling up the fence rails, hooking one with his horn and tossing him.
off the fence.”

The Opinionator

August 14th, 2013
11:21 am

@CeeCee

August 14th, 2013
11:17 am
I think the better idea is “get over it” training. Good grief! People are offended by EVERYTHING these day…!!lighten up already

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

…lighten up already?????

That is the PROBLEM.

I know some of you like to TAN……..WHY?

Cause you don’t want to lighten up.

Uh Huh

The Ean

August 14th, 2013
11:23 am

Right, HE needs Sensitivity Training.
That’s a joke.
Bush was hung in effigy around the world and understood it came with the territory.
Waaaaaah!

Obbop

August 14th, 2013
11:24 am

In today’s politically correct USA these abhorrent vile vermin must be flagellated then hanged by the neck to slowly expire as a mob of PC onlookers applaud their deserved fate.

All that's wrong with America

August 14th, 2013
11:26 am

It’s no wonder the young people of the generation have no respect for any authority figures in their lives, even their own parents. We show constant disrespect for our leaders. We ALL should respect the OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT even if you don’t respect /disagree with the president. When it comes to politics in this country we’d reader cut off our nose to spite our face if the person we didn’t vote for is in office. How stupid. Come on AMERICA were better than that. Well maybe not.

Big Rome

August 14th, 2013
11:27 am

I am sorry Fred, you seem very angry! Careful now, you just might say what you really mean! By the way, hatred is simply a waste of energy.

The Opinionator

August 14th, 2013
11:32 am

@Jayarby

August 14th, 2013
11:19 am
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Huh?????

Did they make fun of and play with his lips?

Did they put a stick up his rear end?

Did they yell baa baa black sheep?

The entertainment during the bull riding contest featured a clown wearing a mask of Obama with an upside down broomstick attached to his backside. Spectators were asked if they wanted to see “Obama run down by a bull.” Many in the audience responded enthusiastically.

BTW….That is what happens when you have a bunch of UNEDUCATED, BACKWOODS,

TOOTHLESS, ROADKILL EATING idiots in one place.

Palana

August 14th, 2013
11:36 am

I never heard or saw any outcry when presidential masks came out of Clinton, Reagan, Nixon, Kennedy, Bush(s), or any others. And they were even sold as Hallowe’en masks. All of a sudden, because he is 1/2 black, it becomes a huge issue from his black followers. Even though he was elected, the fallout from his being in office has caused a bigger chasm between the races than ever simply because everything that is said or done referencing him is considered racial. That card has been played enough, folks. Just pray for a change in ‘16.

BSNBC

August 14th, 2013
11:36 am

It’s ok to wear Bush, Clinton or Regan masks but to wear a mask for the biggest clown ever in office is wrong…keep drinking the Koolaid!

Freedom Writer

August 14th, 2013
12:01 pm

Sounds like those who are complaining about the clown and rodeo are the ones who need sensitivity training.

FarTrain

August 14th, 2013
12:13 pm

No, the ones who are complaining and making an issue of a non-issue need constitutional and freedom of speech rights training. Their hypocrisy runs rampant and is far-reaching! Just shows you the liberal(half-brain) and progressive(brainless liberal) thought process.

Dusty2

August 14th, 2013
12:32 pm

Peace, Brother Opinionator, You have lost your cool. You do more damage to the president than his political opponents.

Your thick spread of hate denotes lack of personal control and no credit to those you promote.

Cut it or can it. You are out of control.

Mitzymy

August 14th, 2013
12:32 pm

Here we have a President who has done more for the backwoods, uneducated, racist people than any other President, and all you do is disrespect him. This clown was treated right, and should never be able to do this again. He is Black, and was elected twice, “Get Over It Already” I am white and sometimes I am ashamed of my race.