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Women Peel More Than Potatoes in Tavern

December 20, 2006

BETHALTO, Ill. (AP) _ Some women at a tavern near this Metro East community took playing with their food to a new level last week by wrestling in mashed potatoes, and now the bar’s owner is in hot legal water.

Rhonda Cato, 48, was charged Monday with misdemeanor obscenity and violating the liquor code after what happened last Thursday at the Palace Tavern, where authorities say patrons grappled in a shallow, inflatable children’s pool filled with mashed spuds.

Cato, of Wood River, was charged because female participants allegedly pulled up each others’ shirts as about 30 to 40 people watched during matches staged while the tavern’s doors were locked, Madison County sheriff’s Lt. Brad Wells said.

``Basically, the clothing on the female bar patrons was being removed,″ Wells said.

The tavern could be fined $1,000, lose its liquor license or have it suspended for up to 30 days if it’s determined that the liquor license code was violated.

The event was not advertised publicly but was billed on a dry-erase board at the bar, Wells said.

The wrestlers could also face criminal charges, he said.

Calls to the Palace Tavern on Tuesday morning went unanswered. Efforts to find a listed home telephone number for Cato were unsuccessful.

Cato is free on $100 bond.

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