The so-called “world’s largest biker bar” is a “total loss” after a devastating blaze in South Dakota. The Full Throttle Saloon, located in the town of Sturgis and known for its zip lines and other unusual features, was made famous by the reality TV show of the same name.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Bar Burned to the Ground in Less Than 3 Hours, & the Blaze May Have Been Fueled by 500 Gallons of Grain Alcohol
KELO in South Dakota reports that the bar was completely destroyed by 3 a.m. on September 8 after firefighters battled a blaze that broke out around 12:30 a.m. The cause is unknown at this time.
AP reports that the fire “may have gained momentum when it hit an adjoining distillery containing 500 gallons of grain alcohol.”
2. Firefighters Blamed a Lack of Water in the Area for Their Inability to Get the Fire Under Control
A lack of water contributed to local firefighters’ inability to get the fire under control before the bar was destroyed. Later, the fire spread to neighboring buildings. KBHB reported that firefighting crews from five different towns were involved in fighting the blaze. The station adds that the strategy in battling the blaze had been to “surround and drown.”
3. The Reality Show About the Bar Has Been Off Air Since 2014
The TruTV reality show based around the bar, and its owners Michael Ballard, Angie Carlson and Jesse James Dupree, appeared to end in 2014. In October of that year, TruTV said in a statement that a new season had been shot. Since then, classic episodes have been airing on Reelz Channel. The first season of the show aired in November 2009. It was narrated by Kansas radio personality Johnny Dare.
4. The Bar Serves 20,000 People Per Night During August
This fire comes just after the bar was traditionally at its busiest. During the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August, around 20,000 people per night passed through Full Throttle. The bar closes from November until March each year. On August 28, the bar’s owner posted on Facebook that the gates were open for 2015’s festivities.
5. The Bar’s Owner Has a Net Worth of $5 Million
According to the Richest, the bar’s primary owner Michael Ballard has a net worth of $5 million. At the height of the reality show’s success, he was making $100,000 per episode. He opened the bar in 1999 after buying 30 acres of land in South Dakota.