Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Farewell, Sherwood Cryer (Do Atlanta honky tonks still have mechanical bulls?)

Once upon a time, mechanical bulls were a staple at country nightclubs and honky tonks. But are there any Atlanta clubs that still offer that unique “Urban Cowboy” experience?

That question crossed my mind again today with the news that Sherwood Cryer has passed away in Texas. Cryer is best known as the co-owner of Gilley’s, the rowdy Pasadena, Texas nightclub that became an international sensation with the John Travolta movie. What’s not is well known is that Cryer made the mechanical bull a staple of Western-themed clubs. He acquired the rights to produce the “El Toro” brand of bulls just before movie production began. While he and Gilley split up in a nasty legal proceeding, and Gilley’s burned to the ground around 1990, Cryer kept shipping his bulls around the world for years afterwards.

Which leads me back to my original question: is there anywhere in Atlanta where you can still ride the bull? I don’t recall seeing one last time I was at Wild Bill’s or Cowboys – both of which used to have their own. Twisted Taco in Midtown lists bull rides on the first Thursday of the month, but they’re more of a Southwestern restaurant/bar than a country club. Occasionally I’ll see a club bringing in a bull for a special event, but I can’t find one “living” here on a regular basis. In fact, the last one I saw was at Maverick’s in Jacksonville last winter.

My Web research has come up blank. So, if you know of any mechanical bulls still operating in the metro area, please drop me a line and let me know.

Meantime, let’s raise a Lone Star and toast Sherwood Cryer. He may have been an ornery cuss, as the Houston papers are writing, but his contributions to country bars and honky tonks will live on!

1 comment:

  1. There's one at Wild West in Holly Springs. I got a kick out of watching a friend of mine ride it back in April at his birthday party!