Justin Wingerter

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The rodeo announcer at the center of a controversy at the Missouri State Fair Saturday night has obtained legal counsel and is denying involvement.

Mark Ficken, Boonville School Superintendent, was elected president of the Missouri Cowboy Rodeo Association Saturday morning. That night he was the announcer during a rodeo in which a clown wore a mask of President Barack Obama.

In a release sent to KMOX News Monday morning, St. Louis attorney Albert Watkins says Ficken wants to “set the story straight.”

“News networks and media outlets have picked up the story which erroneously attributed disrespectful commentary to Ficken who was serving in his twentieth year as the announcer of the bull riding competition at the fair,” Watkins says.

According to the lawyer, the “rogue rodeo clown” wearing the mask was not part of the scripted show and Ficken had no advance knowledge.

Furthermore, the lawyer says the audio heard in video of the event came from the clown himself, not Ficken.

“Unfortunately, in this day of internet piling on, once an outlet published an incorrect statement of facts, the erroneous attribution to my client of comments made by a rogue rodeo clown went viral,” Watkins says in the statement. “My client is now being inundated by responsive and retaliatory action, all of which is premised on a false recital of facts. It is respectfully suggested that the media needs to cut out the bull and get the facts straight.”

As for the rodeo clown in question, he was identified on social media as Tuffy Gessling. Late Sunday, he posted an apology on his Facebook page.


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