The Full Throttle Saloon was one a popular, massive meet-up location for motorcyclists during the rally. Calling it a bar does not do the Saloon justice; known as the largest biker bar int he world, it featured several stages, restaurants, rental cabins, and a wrestling pit across a sprawling thirty acres of land. Full Throttle was so well known that truTV aired a reality show chronicling the trials and tribulations of the bar’s employees.
And then in a flash, it was gone. The bar burned to the ground during an electrical fire. that came out to an estimated ten million dollar loss. The owner, Michael Ballard, expressed his heartache about the fire. He felt uncertain of what a future incarnation of the Full Throttle Saloon would look like. The fire burned down the building, but also claimed the decorative antiques and memorabilia that gave the saloon its character.
Now, just a year later, Full Throttle returns, a phoenix rising from the ashes. It occupies a different plot of South Dakotan land now, but offers many of the same features as the previous site (it even has a free swimming pool). The new saloon occupies an enormous amount of land– the main bar and attractions are on 50 acres, and the property includes 500 acres for camping.
A meetup to say a proper goodbye to the landmark former site during this year’s rally has been organized.
Ballard looks forward to the new saloon. During Sturgis, he will bury a time capsule at the new site. His plan is to have it dug up in twenty four years– the 100th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. He seems optimistic about the new digs, saying, “it’s always been the people that make the party and make the fun.”
Happy Sturgis week!