The rodeo clown who drew national attention from a controversial stunt at the Missouri State Fair will make his first performance since then in Jefferson City.
Tuffy Gessling will be part of the Pro Bull Riding show at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13-14 at the Jefferson City Jaycees Fairgrounds.
Gessling drew fire for a routine in which he donned a President Obama mask, while another rodeo clown asked the crowd if it wanted to see "Obama run down by a bull."
Gessling was banned for life from the Missouri State Fair and has said he received five death threats. Missouri's elected officials criticized the performance as insensitive to Obama, and the issue was reported and debated in the national media.
Amped Up Productions is sponsoring the upcoming Jefferson City event. Owner Isaiah Dunn said the routine mocking presidents is "probably one of the oldest rodeo acts," and is simply meant to be entertaining, not offensive.
"I've known Tuffy for 15 to 20 years and without a doubt, he is not a racist," Dunn said. "He's just a real genuine down-to-Earth nice guy."
He said, like usual, Tuffy will sign autographs along with all the other performers after the Friday and Saturday events.
A posting on Amped Up Productions' Facebook page reads: "Some of the rankest bulls and best bull riders from across the country and Professional Funnyman Tuffy Gessling will be entertaining the crowd!! Don't miss the Greatest Show on Dirt."
Gessling also confirmed to Kansas City's KCTV 5 in an interview last week that he would perform at the Jefferson City event. He said this would be his first performance since the Missouri State Fair.
The report said Gessling invited politicians to come to the event, "watch and grill him with any questions they have."
"If President Obama turns out, I would be honored to shake his hand," he told the station.
He said race didn't play an issue in the skit.
"I didn't do this to do any hating on anyone. I did this to be funny. I did it to be a joke," Gessling told the station. "This clown bit has been around for generations, and I didn't think anything more of it than what we've done 15 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago when we've done it with Bush, Clinton and Ronald Reagan."
Asked if he would perform the routine again, he told the station: "Only time will tell."
Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for children 6-12 and free for youths 5 and younger. Gates open at 5 p.m. each night. Tickets will be sold at the gate, not in advance.