Full Throttle Saloon Fire Cause Under Investigation
One of the most iconic locations during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota- the Full Throttle Saloon – was destroyed by fire during the early hours of Tuesday, September 8.
Due to wood structures and the spread of more than 500 gallons of grain alcohol, the “World’s Largest Biker Bar” burnt to the ground in three hours, the Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department reports. The cause of the Full Throttle Saloon fire remains under investigation; social media reports of arson are just speculation.
Following the Full Throttle Saloon Fire, the bar’s owner, Michael Ballard, said “Over the last two decades, The Full Throttle Saloon has been the epicenter of my life. Walking the grounds following this tragedy is simply devastating. We created a destination that resonated with working class America, and became over time a landmark for this great town which is Sturgis.
“Over the last several years, I’ve taken the success of the Full Throttle and made a significant investment in rebuilding my hometown of Trimble, Tennessee (where the Full Throttle S’loonshine distillery is based). Because of that large financial investment I am not in a position to just start rebuilding today. Right now I have to process what has happened and then figure out the future. As our plans come together, they will be shared but as for today Angie and I are devastated.
“To everyone who made the Full Throttle become the special destination we all came to love, simply thank you. The support from the local community and those across the globe has been humbling.”
Ballard’s best friend, and business partner Jesse James Dupree, also commented: “Michael created not just a bar but a destination point. People come to see Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, The Badlands, and the Full Throttle Saloon when visiting South Dakota. I hope everyone can stop for a moment, and appreciate not only the investment but also the heart and soul that Michael put into the Full Throttle Saloon. My brothers in Jackyl and I along with the hundreds of thousands of others that we call our Full Throttle family are starting the movement TODAY to bring the Throttle Back!”
The Full Throttle Saloon was a usual destination for motorcyclists at Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, with about 20,000 visited it during busy nights at the rally. Ultimate MotorCycling’s Jonathan Handler visited the Full Throttle Saloon weeks before the 2015 Sturgis Rally – read his story here: Sturgis Motorcycle Rally – the Week Before.