If an eccentric, liberal, nudist musician had not attended a rodeo at the Missouri State Fair a week ago Saturday, the world would be a slightly happier place. The State Fair would not have banned rodeo clown Tuffy Gessling for life. The NAACP would not have asked the Secret Service to investigate Tuffy for a "hate crime." His clown colleagues would not have been dispatched to sensitivity training. And race tension nationwide would not have ratcheted up another notch.
But the eccentric in question, Perry Beam, did attend the rodeo. He took his wife and a Taiwanese student with him. When Tuffy donned an Obama mask, Beam grew concerned. When the crowd egged the clown on, Beam grew uneasy. But when another clown started bobbling the lips on the mask, well, that sent Beam "over the top." The student recorded it all on his video camera.
Repelled by what he had seen, the exquisitely sensitive Beam fled the fair with wife and student in tow. The normally inquisitive student asked no questions about what he had witnessed. "In a way," says Beam, "I'm glad. I had no for him." They rode the sixty miles home in shamed silence.
The whole affair might have ended on Beam's Facebook page had it not been for the intervention of a professor friend of Beam's, a garden variety leftist named Bob Yates. Beam gives Yates credit for forwarding the information "to the appropriate blogs" and that, says Beam, "got the ball rolling."
CONTINUED: How a Missouri Rodeo Became a Phony Scandal