SEDALIA, Mo. (KSDK) - The Missouri State Fair Commission is apologizing for the actions of a rodeo clown who donned a Barack Obama mask during a performance at the fair in Sedalia.
Governor Jay Nixon, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill also weighed in with harsh criticism of the performance, during which the rodeo announcer asked the spectators if they wanted to see the president run down by a bull.
On his Twitter feed, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said "I condemn the actions disrespectful to POTUS the other night. We are better than this."
Fairgoer Perry Beam of Higginsville, Missouri attended and snapped photos of the incident, which have spread rapidly via political blogs statewide.
Beam claims the announcer "whipped the audience into a lather" by repeatedly asking attendees if they wanted to see "Obama run down by a bull." Beam says another clown ran up and "started bobbling the lips on the mask and the people went crazy."
In an interview with NewsChannel 5, Beam called it a "racist" display.
The statement by the Fair Commission says: "The performance by one of the rodeo clowns at Saturday's event was inappropriate and disrespectful, and does not reflect the opinions or standards of the Missouri State Fair. We strive to be a family friendly event and regret that Saturday's rodeo badly missed that mark."
Fair organizers identified the announcer who made the statements many found offensive as Mark Ficken. According to the Bonnville R-1 School District website and a site called RodeoAttitude.com, Ficken is the superintendent of schools.
Ficken's attorney, Albert S. Watkins, said Monday that the clown was acting unscripted and it was the clown, wearing a microphone, who made comments riling up the crowd.
Information from the Associated Press were used in this report.