Sturgis Full Throttle Saloon Destroyed By Fire. And Now?

fts1On Tuesday September 8, 2015, in less than 4 hours, the Sturgis Full Throttle Saloon, claiming to be the world’s largest bikers bar,  was burned to the ground. One week later, an investigation concluded that the fire was accidental with the blaze starting from a pinched power cord to a keg refrigerator overheating and igniting cardboard boxes. Owner Michael Ballard had insurance coverage on the the campgrounds and customers, but no insurance on the real estate, the building with bar and all the content.

fts0On his Facebook page, Michael Ballard published the following statement. ”All of the vintage signs, a lifetime of me collecting vintage motorcycles even before I came to Sturgis, vintage cars, vintage machines, concert sound system, lights, sound boards, all the bar equipment, basically all the entire atmosphere of this bar and everything it takes to operate and most of all the structures are going to fall on my shoulders”

Because the fire didn’t damage the campground itself, Ballard seems decided to rent cabins during the 2016 Sturgis Rally. Regarding the saloon structure, he is not sure if he has the will and the financial resources to rebuild.

19 Responses to “Sturgis Full Throttle Saloon Destroyed By Fire. And Now?”

  1. 1 Ray Meynard Sep 30th, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Bet he will try to sell the campground, get big bucks and retire. Buffalo Chip a buyer?

  2. 2 Geno Sep 30th, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Good News: He saved $2000 a year on insurance premiums. Genius.

  3. 3 Rodent Sep 30th, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Anybody building any kind of building in and around Sturgis is going to have to meet all saftey and fire codes, unless you are a local good old boy.

  4. 4 Gary Semms Sep 30th, 2015 at 10:58 am

    All “biker establishments” in and around Sturgis should be inspected by the Fire Marshall before something catastrophic happens during a rally.

  5. 5 Joshua Sep 30th, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Michael Ballard looks like an old country lady!

  6. 6 John J. TEXAS Sep 30th, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Like Burning Man…
    Maybe “Burning Chopper”…
    it could be HUGE!!!
    good day!

  7. 7 RK Rider Sep 30th, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Have any of you been to Sturgis? The place was out side of the town. Hey Gary, why don’t you invite a Fire Marshall to inspect your business and then see how friendly they are. For Gods’ sake we need to stop expecting “others” to take care of ourselves. If you are afraid to venture out then stay home! It’s safer there.

  8. 8 Woody's Sep 30th, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    I’m sure all the folks who accused him of “torching it for the insurance” will be glad to help out with further advice…

  9. 9 rebel Sep 30th, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    didn’t think there would be any insurance, it’s hard enough to get a normal structure covered that you can afford, that would have been a very unique policy and NOT affordable!

  10. 10 nicker Sep 30th, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    “… a lifetime of me collecting vintage motorcycles even before I came to Sturgis, vintage cars, vintage machines…”

    There is no “insurance” from which one can recover such a loss….. PERIOD.
    It is what it is.


  11. 11 Blackmax Sep 30th, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    With Woody & nicker on this one …
    So much for the “doing it for the insurance money” riff
    I guess if he rebuilds, then he rebuilds
    Me the cabins alone aren’t worth the hassle
    I’d sell the property to the Chip & be done with it
    Sorry to see it go !!!!

  12. 12 Mike Tomas Oct 1st, 2015 at 8:49 am

    I hope it is rebuilt. Whether or not one patronized it, it is one of those character institutions that added to the Sturgis rally experience as it had its own flavor. It’ll be a shame to have this one disappear.

  13. 13 Speed Oct 1st, 2015 at 9:47 am

    I see another TV show in the works!

  14. 14 Jeff Nicklus Oct 1st, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    If I were Michael I would clean up all the fire damaged area and install two of the huge insulated tents, just like the one across the street from the FT, and lease a stage and have the leasing company come in and set up the stage and sound system……bang back in business!

    That would keep him and the FT on their feet while he rebuilds…….just sayin’!

    Over & Out,


  15. 15 Buck Lovell Oct 1st, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    to Mike Ballard

    I am hereby pledge $50.00 towards the rebuilding of the Full Throttle Saloon. I enjoyed the bar, the atmosphere and the people. There it is. Let’s get that place back up a running!

    Buck Lovell

  16. 16 rcupp Oct 1st, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Get this old house in there to rebuild it!

  17. 17 Zenaldo Oct 2nd, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    it wasn’t THAT nice..sell the ground & move on..

  18. 18 merri Oct 5th, 2015 at 9:41 am

    From what I understand he didn’t have insurance on the building? I would think all establishments would have insurance.

  19. 19 wtbiker Oct 6th, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Now we won’t have to be listening to him whining and bitching and without the celebrity status, maybe he might start taking better care of his hot wife. Regular performances by Jackyl will be missed.

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Cyril Huze