Rodeo clown fired for comments about gender identity at Calhoun Co. fair

Posted at 6:51 PM, Aug 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-23 08:49:53-04

One of the jobs of a rodeo clown is to provide comic relief, but a clown at the Calhoun County Fair went too far, in the eyes of organizers, when he made jokes about gender identity.

A viewer sent us video of the incident, which happened during a rodeo event at the fairgrounds on August 18.

"You're either a boy or a girl, y’all understand," said "Rockin' Robbie Hodges, an independent contractor for Lost Nations Rodeo Company. "If you're confused then you need help, okay?"

"Everybody in here who's really sure they're a boy raise your hand," said Hodges. "If you can tinkle on a fire you go to the boys room, if you can't, you go to the girls room, right?"

The crowd seemed to laugh at Hodge's comments, however fair organizers are far from laughing.

"I was very disappointed, because we do not put on a platform for that to happen here," said Megan Harvey, the Executive Director for the Calhoun County Fair.

The viewer who sent the video said many people left the rodeo following Hodge's comments.

The Calhoun County Fair contracted Lost Nations Rodeo Company for services.

Shilo Walden of Lost Nations Rodeo Company says Hodges was fired after the comments were brought to his attention that night.

Hodges was an independent contractor with the company.

Lost Nations Rodeo issued a statement to us formally apologizing for the comments.

"Lost Nations Rodeo was unaware that those comments would be made and were off script. Hodges is a well-decorated entertainer, and while we appreciate his services, we do not share the same views or opinions. We sincerely apologize again to all of our fans and look forward to entertaining you in the future.”

Harvey says this is the second year the county fair has contracted Lost Nations Rodeo for its services.

"Every year, we go to a convention in January, and there are several different companies in Grand Rapids looking for our business to contract them for fairs. They were there as one of the rodeo companies," said Harvey.

Before contracting any service, fair organizers conduct research and look at reviews for each company.

"We've had really good reviews on them with several other fairs," said Harvey. "We check out where they've been and make sure they have a good following and this has never come up at all."

The Calhoun County Fair Board will decide if Lost Nations Rodeo will be invited back for another year.

"I never want to see anyone lose their job because we all have a family to support and so on, but I hope he takes home that he can't do that and this is a family-friendly event," said Harvey.

Fair organizers encourage anyone disturbed by the comments to contact them directly or on the Calhoun County Fair Facebook page.