Organizers of two California-based rodeo events last weekend are condemning the racist comments of a rodeo clown that were directed toward President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
United Bull Riding, a for-profit organization based in Bakersfield, on Monday apologized for statements that Mike Hayhurst reportedly made during the bull-riding event, which immediately followed, but was not connected to the rodeo.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune reported that several residents who attended the bull-riding event said the rodeo clown made several offensive comments about the president and First Lady, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and actress Lindsay Lohan.
Hayhurst hung up when The Tribune reached him for comment by phone on Sunday.
“UBR does not endorse or condone the distasteful and unsettling remarks expressed as part of the unscripted, free-form banter during our bull-riding event,” the company said in a statement.
As a result of the incident, the Creston Classic Rodeo board has said it would not contract with Hayhurst again.
The board said it has contracted with Hayhurst for three years, but hadn’t had a problem in the past. It did not require a script prior to the event.
During the Creston Classic Rodeo on Saturday afternoon, Hayhurst made a joke over the public address system about Michelle Obama that reportedly went like this: Playboy is offering Ann Romney $250,000 to pose in the magazine, and the White House is upset about it because National Geographic only offered Michelle Obama $50 to pose for them.
Other board members said they did not hear Hayhurst’s comment, and all were busy Saturday ensuring the rodeo ran smoothly.
“Most of us are working like crazy when we’re there,” board member Tom Hansen said.
United Bull Riding’s inaugural bull-riding competition was held immediately following the rodeo on Saturday afternoon.
Hayhurst continued to perform before and during the bull-riding event, said Steve Neitzke, the chief financial officer for United Bull Riding. Hayhurst was not contracted with the company.
Another spectator told the newspaper that she heard the rodeo clown compare a black bull to President Obama, asking what they have in common.
“Besides the obvious?” was the answer, according to the female spectator. “A couple of good points and a lot of bull in between.”
She added: “My son and I were offended by that. I thought it was disrespectful to the audience.”
The woman and her husband also recalled a comment that referenced actress Lohan’s time in jail, and said Hayhurst joked, “We need Obamacare like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween mask.”
Neitzke said bull-riding event organizers did not hear Hayhurst’s comments and were not aware of any previous comments made during the day.
According to the UBR statement, “The public can expect a much-heightened vigilance on UBR’s part in the future.”