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State Lawmakers Assess Fair Rodeo Incident as Clown Returns to Performing

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A key African-American state legislator says she’s satisfied with the State Fair’s handling of a skit mocking the President at a rodeo.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A key African-American state legislator says she’s satisfied with the State Fair’s handling of a skit mocking the President at a rodeo.

Clown Tuffy Gessling says he  put a President Barack Obama mask on another clown posing as a dummy and the crowd was asked if they wanted to see a bull run it down.  Gessing has not revealed the name of the second person involved.  

In a statement the day after the rodeo, Assistant Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) called the routine ”blatant racism,” and “distasteful,” and said that she would not support future funding for the Fair.

In the month since the incident, Gessling has been banned from the Fair and Beatty has met with the Fair Director.

“They took swift action and I think at this point that’s probably all that needs to happen.”

Gessling has said the skit is not new and is not meant to be racist. Beatty is asked if she believes that.

“I’m not sure that it was racially motivated, but it can be seen that way, and I think you have to be careful how you do things because it’s how people perceive it. We want to make sure that the Fair is open to everyone in the state.”

Beatty says she has received calls from people who said they would never go back to the State Fair. After its handling of the incident, she is encouraging them to go back.
Others have told another state lawmaker they won’t go back, but for a different reason.

Representative Tim Remole (R-Excello) says some constituents are telling him that they don’t agree with Gessling’s ban.

“They did not go to the Fair because of it … there will be some things that need to be addressed concerning that.”

Remole says some are telling him that they won’t go back to the Fair until it issues an apology to Gessling.

“It was probably made a bigger deal than what it should have been and I just feel there will be a fallout in some degree.”

Gessling will perform for the first time since the Fair, tonight and tomorrow at the Pro Bull Riding Show in Jefferson City.


Monte Schisler at KWIX in Moberly contributed to this report.
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