Michael Ballard Issues Statement on Full Throttle Saloon Fire

MotorcycleUSA Staff | September 10, 2015

Full Throttle Saloon (FTS) owner Michael Ballard issued the first official statement about the fire that burned his Sturgis enterprise to the ground on the FTS Facebook page. Whether the popular biker bar will be rebuilt is still up in the air. Apparently fans have started fundraising efforts on GoFundMe, but Ballard wanted to make it clear that these are not endorsed by the Full Throttle Saloon, writing “…while we truly appreciate the support we are asking everyone to please hold off until we have a better idea of what direction we will be going.” – MotoUSA Ed

Michael Ballard Full Throttle Saloon


Television Show Returns This November On Destination America Channel

Sturgis, SD — Full Throttle proprietor Michael Ballard has issued a statement following the overnight fire that burned the famed destination to the ground. Ballard, who created the saloon in Sturgis, SD offers “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 shares, “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!”

Michael Ballard also expresses significant gratitude to the fire departments from Piedmont, Vale, Whitewood, Sturgis and Fort Meade who collaborated to gain control of the blaze that engulfed the entire facility. Additionally, The ATF and the State Fire Marshall. The Destination America channel will broadcast the upcoming season of the Full Throttle Saloon television show the last week of November. Ballard was honored this past July in being cited as one of the seven most influential players in the Sturgis Rally’s history. He shared inclusion on the pantheon of motorcycle enthusiasts alongside J.C. “Pappy” Hoel and the Jackpine Gypsies, Pearl Hoel, the American Motorcyclist Association, Bill Gikling and Harley-Davidson, Michael Lichter and Easyriders Magazine, and Rod Woodruff and the Buffalo Chip Campground.

Sturgis' Full Throttle Saloon