Missouri rodeo clown says act featured Bush, Reagan masks in the past
August 26th, 2013
02:55 PM ET
8 months ago

Missouri rodeo clown says act featured Bush, Reagan masks in the past

Updated at 8:15 a.m. ET on 8/27

(CNN) - The rodeo clown whose controversial routine mocking President Barack Obama got him banned for life from the Missouri State Fair said in his first televised interview Monday he'd mocked other presidents in the past during his act.

"I didn't think anything more of it than what we've done 15 years ago, ten years ago, five years ago, when we've done it with Bush, Clinton and Ronald Reagan," Tuffy Gessling told CNN Kansas City affiliate KCTV.

Asked whether he was a Republican or Democrat, Gessling said simply, "I'm a rodeo clown."

The stunt that landed him in hot water happened earlier this month when he was performing at the Missouri State Fair. While another clown donned an Obama mask and held a broom descending from his backside, Gessling said, "Hey, I know I'm a clown. He's just running around acting like one. Doesn't know he is one."

The response was quick. Aside from the Missouri State Fair ban, the president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association resigned. Missouri lawmakers condemned the incident.

Gessling described a vitriolic reaction after the national outcry over his act.

"I've had one lady spit in my face, called me a dirty name, spit in my face and walked off," Gessling told KCTV. "I've had somebody threaten to run me over. One of them wanted to burn the house down."

But the routine, which some labeled racist, had nothing to do with skin color, Gessling claimed.

"I never did anything because of anybody's race. I don't care what color somebody is. If they're blue, white, green, polka dotted, striped ... it doesn't bother me one bit," he said, adding later he'd be "honored" to shake Obama's hand.


Filed under: Missouri
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Lisa P.

    "I didn't think anything more of it than what we've done 15 years ago, ten years ago, five years ago, when we've done it with Bush, Clinton and Ronald Reagan," Tuffy Gessling told CNN Kansas City affiliate KCTV.
    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

    What is Gessling talking about? Ronald Reagan's been out of office for twenty-five years, not fifteen. And for the first few years after 9/11 I doubt that anyone could have mocked George W. Bush the way Gessling mocked Barack Obama without garnering national media attention and devoted following of "patriots" bearing torches and pitchforks. I realize rodeo clowns are probably not all that bright as a group but it seems to me that Gessling is doing some mighty convenient "remembering" in this interview. I would like to see some evidence of his claims.

    I also think the announcer who goaded the crowd on is the one who needs to be investigated, pilloried and, probably, banned. Gessling's antics were just antics until the announcer put on his hate-filled and vicious spin.

    August 26, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    slalom5

    Obviously MOST OF YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN TO RODEO.
    -------------
    Obviously you don't know what you're ranting about. Rodeos stink.

    August 26, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein

    It wasn't him wearing the mask. It was the reaction from the crowd and announcer that I find detestable, People are missing that point.

    August 26, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. Wake up People!

    Kathleen Farrell. Awesome post but have you ever thought that maybe that was exactly what the parents wanted them to see?? Racism is taught.

    August 26, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Winston Smith

    Who cares. Yesterdays Moron highlights (NEWS). MOVE ON. Too many idiots, doing idiotic things, just to get their 15 minutes of fame. Enough already.

    August 26, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    -Dar

    OMG Another racist story...............If Obama was white no one would have given a crap about it. They just would have laughed it off like they did in the past when this clown did it. BIG DEAL!!!

    There is a heck of a lot more going on in the world right now that we should all be more concerned about than a clown running around with a broom stick stuck up his butt.

    If it would have been a black clown, would anyone have made such a big deal out of this?? I think not.
    *************************
    Why not discuss race, Dar, or is it because, like many conservatives, you know you lack any legitimacy to discuss it? And please, if it had been a black rodeo clown mocking a whiote president, it would have been the headliner on all the FOX talk shows about how blacks can't show respect to a white president.

    August 26, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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