Sport: Water Rodeo

Waterskiing, speedy, spray-dashed and a little daffy, is a sport that looks as American as rodeo riding. Actually, the accepted story goes, it was invented by officers of France's snow-skiing Chasseurs Alpins, who took to the waters of Lake Annecy in the French Alps some 20 years ago on a dare. Since those days, it has grown up on the lakes, rivers and bays of the U.S. into a lusty-sized sport—although it still has a long way to go before it threatens its hilly, cold-weather cousin in popularity.

So far, U.S. water-skiers have held...

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