Full Throttle Saloon Burns to Ground
An overnight fire destroyed a huge nightclub known for hosting some of classic rock's biggest names. The club was also the subject of a long-running reality TV show.
Firefighters arrived after midnight this morning to find the Full Throttle Saloon, east of Sturgis, N.D., fully engulfed. Fire crews had to temporarily close South Dakota Highway 34 in front of the venue while they tried to contain the blaze, according to KBHB.
Billed by owner Michael Ballard as the "World's Largest Biker Bar," Full Throttle just completed a series of concerts during last month's Strugis motorcycle rally. Foghat, Molly Hatchet, Vince Neil, Poison's Bret Michaels, Tom Keifer of Cinderella and second-generation Bad Company frontman Brian Howe all participated. Ballard estimated that the number of patrons inside can swell to about 15,000 people a night during the rally. Rental cabins surround the bar, which also includes a zip line, among other attractions.
The accompanying television show, titled Full Throttle Saloon, began airing on truTV in 2009. Jackyl frontman Jesse James Dupree helped develop the program after being inspired by a performance at the club. Scenes from this year's rally were filmed for future broadcast.
Sturgis Assistant Fire Chief Shawn Barrows told the Argus-Leader that intense heat kept firefighters from even entering the structure. KBHB reports that crews from the surrounding areas of Piedmont, Vale, Whitewood, Sturgis and Fort Meade responded to the fire. Rubble from the building, which reportedly had completely burned down by 3AM, continued to smolder into the day.
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