Friday, February 15, 2008

Iowa says dwarf wrestling is legit and wants taxes

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A West Des Moines nightclub shortchanged the state government last week when it hosted an "extreme midget wrestling" event without a license, labor officials said Tuesday.

Professional boxing or wrestling match promoters in Iowa are required to post a $5,000 bond and pay taxes on admission revenue.

On Friday, the Vieux Carre nightclub hosted the Half Pint Brawlers, a traveling group of dwarfs who do stand-up comedy, stunts and faux wrestling shows.

Club owner Tom Baldwin disputes whether the event should be considered a professional athletic event.

"It's just kind of a carnival-like show," Baldwin said. "It'd be no different than going to the Funny Bone" comedy club.

Nevertheless, the state's labor commissioner, Dave Neil, said the event is considered professional wrestling under Iowa law, which defines it as an exhibition that is open to the public and has paid contestants - no matter their size.

"It's advertised as professional wrestling," Neil said. "Whether it's a show or an exhibition, then we're just splitting hairs."