The president of the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association has resigned after getting flak about a State Fair event in which a rodeo clown riled up the crowd as a bull chased a masked man imitating President Barack Obama.
An attorney for rodeo announcer Mark Ficken said Tuesday that his resignation from the group is not an acknowledgment of wrongdoing on his part but rather a protest that the association has not banned the rodeo clown from its membership.
Ficken’s resignation from the rodeo group comes as he tries to hold on to his job as superintendent of the Boonville School District. The school system announced Monday that it is hiring an investigator to look into whether Ficken was involved in any “inappropriate conduct” during Saturday’s bull riding event at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia.
The spectacle drew national attention, and embarrassed everyone who lives in this state who has even a modicum of decency.
Of course there were those who went absolutely nutters and accused us of being hypocrites for not condemning burning George W. Bush in effigy, the George-Bush-head-on-a-pike from Game of Thrones and that French mockumentary about a fictional assassination of George W. Bush that no one saw. They even went all the way back to 1994 to the use of a George H.W. Bush dummy at a Pennsylvania rodeo. (in the case of Game of Thrones, no one noticed until the first season was released on DVD – and the lead producer said they needed 20 heads, and there were only so many available, and they kinda had to use it to stay on schedule and within budget, and had the producer not outed the show himself, no one would have known.)
Of course, none of the things that they called us hypocrites for failing to denounce were taxpayer funded — and they sure as hell weren’t defending the Dixie Chicks and their right to free speech about a decade back, so their protestations ring hollow.
But the subject at hand is not the offense taken by the peanut gallery; instead it is the sheer panic of the announcer as he runs away from the controversy like the clown ran away from the bull.
Ficken’s attorney said a rodeo clown wearing a microphone – not Ficken – orchestrated the act and made most of the comments about a bull charging after Obama.
The Missouri State Fair said Monday that it has permanently banned the clown from performing at the fair.
The rodeo association, which was responsible for the event, has not publicly said what – if any – action it has taken against participants.
“When he found out that the association had no plans to remove the rogue clown from its membership ranks, (Ficken) felt that the better part of valor – given what was said – was to resign from the association,” said his Ficken’s attorney, Albert Watkins.
I’m sorry, but everything Ficken has done since the regrettable incident gave our entire state a black eye — has the unmistakeable stench of desperation and panic about it, of a man desperately trying to hold his day-job as the Superintendent of the Booneville schools.
At the very least, he showed poor judgment and on the other end of the spectrum, he might have been complicit, and it all casts doubt on his suitability for that job. If he is so offended now, why didn’t he simply leave the booth and tell them to get another announcer, he was outta there if that clown wasn’t escorted out of the ring right then — along with the one who “bobbled the lips” of the Obama mask.
That he didn’t stand up for what was right, right then and there, but instead started a paniced salvage operation after the horse was out of the barn makes him look more like a chickenshit than someone who knows the first thing about the “better part of valor.”