Skip to main content

Devastated owner unsure of future after famous Sturgis biker bar burns down

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The devastated owner of the "world's biggest biker bar" in Sturgis, South Dakota, has said it faces an unsure future after it was destroyed in a fire.

The Full Throttle Saloon, which can host up to 15,000 bikers on one night during the hugely popular annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, burned to the ground Tuesday morning, CNN reports.

Proprietor Michael Ballard took to the bar's Facebook page to express his sadness over the blaze, and while he hopes to get it back up and running eventually, he's not planning on rebuilding straight away due to recent investments he'd made in his hometown of Trimble, Tennessee, where the bar's Sloonshine Distillery is based.

In the meantime, he has made a request for people to stop contributing to several GoFundMe pages set up in the wake of the fire, saying none of them are endorsed by the bar and that while they are appreciated, they are not needed at this stage until the bar can get "its ducks in a row."

"Because of that large financial investment [in Trimble] I am not in a position to just start rebuilding today," he said. "Right now I have to process what has happened and then figure out the future."

Ballard described the bar as "the epicenter of my life," describing the fire as a "tragedy" and "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," he said.

Last month, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally celebrated its 75th birthday with more than 1 million people attending over the week-long event.

The saloon also had its own TV show, which was broadcast on TruTV between 2009 and 2014.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 9.06.40 AM

What to do with the Kmart site? Minneapolis wants your ideas

The project will connect Nicollet Avenue south of Lake street and north of the Midtown Greenway, reestablishing a street grid.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 7.53.55 AM

Crowd evacuated at end of homecoming football game in Brooklyn Park

Police blamed 'unruly teens' in the stands and some who were trying to enter the stadium.


State to help 44 Minnesota gas stations add E15 pumps

The yellow 88 button is coming to more gas stations in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 4.54.42 PM

FBI, police investigating bank robbery at Edina's 50th and France

An ATM technician was robbed by four men at a U.S. Bank.

Ethan Glynn

Paralyzed Bloomington football player begins rehabilitation in Colorado

Ethan Glynn is at a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital.

Press Bar fire

Owner of St. Cloud bar gets 6 years for arson, ordered to repay $3M

A February 2020 fire at the Press Bar and Parlor was later determined to be an insurance job.


Bloomington, Richfield districts tighten security ahead of weekend football

Enhanced safety measures will be in place this weekend.

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 2.23.15 PM

Walz sends MN first responders to help with hurricane recovery in Florida

Eight members of the Minnesota All Hazards Incident Management Team will travel to Florida.


It was the driest September in Twin Cities modern history

Less than a quarter inch of rain fell in September.


Andy Welsh

Charges reveal how owner allegedly burned down Press Bar

Lighter fluid was found in his truck nearly two weeks after the blaze.