Saskatchewan

Agribition rodeo clown's hitting-Trudeau-with-a-bus joke inappropriate, says Regina woman

Megan McCormick says a joke the clown told about hitting Justin Trudeau with a bus was in poor taste, especially since it came soon after a moment of silence for a seven-year-old killed in a car crash. 

Agribition CEO says joke 'wasn't meant to be taken seriously'

Dennis Halstead performs at a rodeo event in Regina. (Submitted by Dennis Halstead)

A Regina woman isn't laughing after a performance by a well-known rodeo clown at Agribition earlier this week.

Megan McCormick says a joke the clown told about hitting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with a bus was in poor taste, especially since it came soon after a moment of silence for a seven-year-old killed in a car crash. 

McCormick, who attended Wednesday night's rodeo event with her six-year-old daughter, said rodeo clown Dennis Halstead, who is from Okotoks, Alta., opened his performance with the joke.

"He said he had tragic news that Justin Trudeau had been hit by a bus," she said. "And then he was like, 'The bad news is that I lost my job as a bus driver."'

Megan McCormick says she felt a joke told by rodeo cowboy Dennis Halstead was inappropriate, given it talked about harming the Prime Minister. (Megan McCormick/Submitted )

McCormick felt the joke was inappropriate, especially for the many young children who were attending the show.

"I'm sitting there with my six-year-old hearing someone talk about a violent act against someone," she said. "And I'm like 'How do I explain that this is a joke and this is OK for adults to behave like this?'"

McCormick said the arena held a moment of silence for Skyrah Tawiyaka, the seven-year-old girl who died in a car accident near Balgonie on Monday, Moments before Halstead began his performance.

She didn't know if Halstead heard the moment of silence before entering the arena, but says if he did, it was a "strange decision for him to make" to go ahead with the joke.

McCormick took to Twitter after the show to voice her displeasure with the joke. She said most people have disagreed with her point of view.  

In a statement sent to CBC News, Agribition CEO Chris Lane said the joke "wasn't meant to be taken seriously but it was for some people." 

"We addressed it together and we've already moved on," the statement went on to say. "Dennis is a professional and he's here because he's a great entertainer."

Halstead did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. 

Lane didn't say if Halstead would face consequences for making the joke, but McCormick said she's learned since Wednesday that Halstead has told the same joke at other rodeos he's performed at.

She said the joke was mostly received positively in the arena, with lots of people laughing at it.

McCormick said she's glad Lane has spoken with Halstead about the joke. She added it won't keep her from going to Agribition in the future. 

"I don't know how I'd explain to my cowboy hat-wearing child that we don't go to the rodeo anymore because of one comment," she said. 

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