Boonville School Board Investigates Fair Announcer

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BOONVILLE - The Boonville School Board told KOMU 8 News Friday that it has hired Dr. James Ritter and an assistant of his choice to perform an investigation of the Sedalia Rodeo incident, involving Boonville Superintendent Mark Ficken. The special meeting was held on Tuesday and it was closed to the public.

Ficken was the announcer of the State Fair's rodeo stunt that is getting national news coverage. The incident featured a rodeo clown wearing a President Obama mask. 

The school district says it does not tolerate racially inflammatory statements and that appropriate actions will be taken if Ficken made such comments. 

Ficken's attorney maintains he did not make any racially insensitive comments during the announcing at the fair. 

Gov. Jay Nixon actually addressed the rodeo stunt Thursday at the fair's annual governor's ham breakfast and called the stunt "inappropriate and offensive," according to the Sedalia Democrat. 

Director of the Missouri State Fair, Mark Wolfe, said the incident was embarrassing and banned the clown involved in the stunt from the fair. 

The Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association did not identify the clown, but news reports identify him as Glasgow man Tuffy Gessling. A Facebook page supporting Gessling was started Thursday and had more than 11,000 likes by Friday morning. 

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