Americana: Bum Steers

Ever since John Travolta mounted a mechanical toro at Gilley's Club in Pasadena, Texas, suburban cowboys everywhere have been taking the bull by the horns. "It's a macho thing," says Jerry Willrich, manager of Gilley's Bronco Shop, which sells the El Toro machine to bars around the country for big bucks ($7,495). "A guy has to beat that machine and show off for his women." Manhood, however, has been riding for more than a few falls.

In New Orleans, the Ochsner Foundation Hospital has counted 41 injuries from barroom broncos since Aug. 1. Most victims come in with bruises, sprains and...

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