BOONVILLE, Mo. (KSDK) - The head of the Boonville School District was cleared Tuesday of any wrongdoing tied to the Obama rodeo clown incident at the Missouri State Fair.
The district concluded an investigation into the actions of Dr. Mark Ficken, who was the announcer at the August 10 rodeo where a clown walked out wearing a President Obama mask. Ficken contended it was never his idea to have the clown wear the Obama mask and that he was not the one making comments during the event which offended some rodeo attendees. Ficken's attorney, Albert S. Watkins, said the clown was acting unscripted and wearing a microphone.
The rodeo clown had asked the spectators if they wanted to see the president run down by a bull.
Ficken resigned as president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboys Association days after video and images of the clown became widespread. The Missouri State Fair Commission issued an apology and banned the rodeo clown from ever performing at the fair again. Governor Jay Nixon, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill weighed in with harsh criticism of the performance.
The Boonville R-1 School Board eventually hired Dr. Jim Ritter as a consultant to investigate Ficken's actions on the matter and prepare a report for the board. Ritter, a retired superintendent of the Columbia, Missouri Public School District, was aided in his investigation by former Missouri Attorney General Rick Williams.
After the report and its findings were delivered, the school board voted unanimously in support of Ficken and opted against removing him as superintendent.
Meanwhile, Tuffy Gessling, who was identified as the rodeo clown in the Obama mask, told a Kansas City television station that he "did this to be funny" and was not trying to offend anyone with his actions.