JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association says he didn't know that a "rogue rodeo clown" at the Missouri State Fair rodeo planned an act that critics on both sides of the political aisle have deemed disrespectful to the president.
The clown wearing a President Barack Obama mask appeared at the rodeo Saturday in Sedalia. Media reports said the announcer asked spectators if they wanted to see "Obama Run down by a bull," and many fans responded enthusiastically.
Mark Ficken is rodeo association president and was the rodeo announcer.
"The rodeo clown did an act that was not in the script, it was not approved by the board of directors of MRCA and it was not appropriate," Ficken told 41 Action News. "We extend our apologies to the Missouri State Fair. Rodeo is not a political platform and will not be again. We are taking disciplinary action."
His attorney, Albert S. Watkins, also said Monday that the clown was acting unscripted and it was the clown, wearing a microphone, who made comments riling up the crowd.
Watkins says Ficken's only comment was to say, "Watch out for that bull Obama!"
The Missouri State Fair Commission announced Monday afternoon that the rodeo clown is permanently banned from the fair.
The attorney said that the "rogue rodeo clown" was wearing a wireless microphone and that it would have been easy for audience members to have become confused about who was speaking.
Watkins said Ficken has no political agenda, and retained a lawyer out of fear that this incident, which he said escalated to "tens of millions of people blowing coffee out of their noses" when they read about it this morning, could endanger his job as the Boonville, Mo., school superintendent.
Watkins did not directly answer when asked if his client was offended by the clown's remarks, but said he was sure people don't go to a rodeo hear political opinions of a "middle-aged, overweight rodeo clown."