Lewis Diuguid

NAACP freedom riders say rodeo clown antics made the Missouri State Fair feel like a klan rally

This photo provided by Jameson Hsieh shows a clown wearing a mask intended to look like President Obama at the Missouri State Fair. The announcer asked the crowd if anyone wanted to see “Obama run down by a bull,” according to a spectator. “So then everybody screamed. ... They just went wild,” said Perry Beam, who attended the rodeo at the State Fair in Sedalia on Saturday Aug. 10, 2013.  State Fair officials apologized calling the display inappropriate and disrespectful. (AP Photo/Jameson Hsieh)
This photo provided by Jameson Hsieh shows a clown wearing a mask intended to look like President Obama at the Missouri State Fair. The announcer asked the crowd if anyone wanted to see “Obama run down by a bull,” according to a spectator. “So then everybody screamed. ... They just went wild,” said Perry Beam, who attended the rodeo at the State Fair in Sedalia on Saturday Aug. 10, 2013. State Fair officials apologized calling the display inappropriate and disrespectful. (AP Photo/Jameson Hsieh) ASSOCIATED PRESS

The bus that the NAACP chartered to take people in Missouri and Kansas to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom stopped at the Marshall Junction on U.S. 65 to pick up passengers.

Some lived in Sedalia, and had stories to tell about the rodeo clown who wore a mask resembling President Barack Obama and fired up the Missouri State Fair crowd on Aug. 10 during a bull-riding competition. The people on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People bus said the N-word and other racial epithets were openly used by the audience as the voice over the speakers at the rodeo asked whether anyone wanted to see Obama run down by a bull.

Missouri, a red state, voted against Obama, the nation’s first black president, when he ran for the Oval Office in 2008 and 2012. It seemed unusual because the Show-Me State had a longstanding record of picking the winner in presidential contests.

But Missouri also was a slave state that remained in the Union during the Civil War and has had an ugly history in race relations. The NAACP freedom riders from Sedalia said the rodeo felt like a Ku Klux Klan rally because of the racial hatred that was being expressed by the crowd.

It was far from good, harmless, clean, political humor, poking satirical fun at a president.

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