Full Throttle Saloon owner, Michael Ballard, along with his friends and family are devastated after an overnight fire obliterated the Sturgis, South Dakota establishment. An unknown cause sparked a fire early Tuesday morning. Several fire departments across South Dakota were called to the scene but were unable to contain the fire. Unfortunately, the world-famous Full Throttle Saloon is considered a complete loss. Michael Ballard has released the following statement:
“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. 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.” – Michael Ballard
Michael Ballard’s best friend and business partner Jesse James Dupree also released this statement:
“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!” – Jesse James Dupree
We sure hope they rebuild soon! We would like to honor the Sturgis, South Dakota landmark with your fondest memories. Do you have a memory you want to share? Share your favorite photos and memories of the Full Throttle Saloon in the comments to be featured in our memorial blog post.