if you build it, they will come… Tribute to Michael Ballard’s FUll Throttle Saloon, In the Wind, 03


It is the stuff dreams are made of.. a lone man with a goal, a mission, a pursuit of something that exists to no one else but his own heart. When Michael Ballard first purchased the large vacant lot in Sturgis, South Dakota, no one would have ever believed that this young, vibrant man would soon be the builder of a legend, the mastermind of a masterpiece, the creator of something so awesome, so unforgettable that it stands as a pillar forever in the memory of the Sturgis experience… he is the proprietor of the infamous Full Throttle Saloon. As it stands there in all its unique, almost eccentric, magnificence, people flock from all over the world to find out what everyone is talking about.

For the duration of the wild, unabashed abandonment that is Sturgis Bike Week in all its glory, the Full Throttle serves as a mainstay for thousands upon thousands, nearly busting at the seams from the overwhelming crowds that gather to attend the great concerts and gaze upon the buxom beauties that work behind the countless bars. The false store front, reminiscent of the old west, lends a friendly air to the vast crowds that rush the establishment. The open air arena inside with its surrounding boardwalk, donning vendors and tattoo artists and everything in between, stays packed in constant fun and excitement as the bandstand is graced by all the greats, and the crowds peppered with the famous clientele that look upon the Full Throttle as a second home. An almost carnival-type air is provided by the games that decorated the outer walls, and an amazing adrenaline rush is filtered through the masses almost incessantly by the tire melting, piston popping competitions in the burn out pit. The quaint originality of the decor varies from dark blues bar settings to black lights and dazzling neon, and is accented by the bikes, cars, trucks and buses littered throughout the graffiti endorsed walls, transforming the place into a museum of all that is outlandishly cool.

Aside from the beautiful bartenders, a large draw to the place is the entertainment that Michael works so dilligently to provide. Such acts as Motley Jackson, Blue Jack, the Russell Jackson Band, Gutter Boys, and Shakedown prime the earliest crowds for the endless nights of kick ass partyin’, and the “in your face” headliners drive home the hard rockin’, heart stopping action that brings down the house, featuring the awesome music of such names as Brand New Sin, 38 Special and Nazareth. The entire week one of the main draws are the Purrfect Angelz.. the scantly clad dancers who tantalized all with their hot, grinding, exotic performances, featured mainly on a pool table which served as their center stage. These sexy dancers, with their hint of erotica, are famous in their own right, having starred on television and the internet, and still find time to tour with the Easyriders Bike Show circuit. Seems these wonderful creatures boast brains as well as beauty.

A long standing tradition of the Full Throttle is the blowout that occurs Thursday night every year, when the celebrities arrive, the speakers are blasted to the max, and always features the wild and wooly, head banging, chain saw slinging musical orgy of award winning, record holding Jackyl, whose lead singer, Jesse DuPree also moonlights as Michael’s best friend. This tradition had a very unusual start, as do most in our leather clad society. Seems that the first year the bar opened, there was a last minute cancellation on Thursday nite, and Jackyl offered to fill in at the very last minute. This was a first time meeting of Jesse and Michael, and the beginning of an ironclad friendship as well as partnership where they both work together to make the Full Throttle the best damn biker bar in the world. I think they have succeeded. One of their favorite stories concerns a buffalo farm near the location of this infamous saloon.. legend has it that the music is so, well, moving, that the buffalos get rather excited and tend to mate each year, on the Thursday nite of the rally. I suppose this proves the guys to be enviromentally conscious as well?

Another added beniefit of the Full Throttle is the close proximity to so many campgrounds, with its prime location on the edge of town.. several campgrounds are even walking distance, if you feel the need to endulge in the entertainment of alcoholic beverage, you don’t have to worry about trashing your scoot or waking up in the drunk tank the next morning.

Seems that Michael’s fantasy of the world’s greatest biker bar has come to reality, and, from his focused dreams, devotion and hard work he has realized that if you build it, they will come… by the thousands.

Amy White



4 Responses to “if you build it, they will come… Tribute to Michael Ballard’s FUll Throttle Saloon, In the Wind, 03”

  1. FTS ROCKS!!!!!


    Renae Pensacola, Fl.
    STURGIS 2010

  2. I’ve met Michael & Angie in Atlanta GA last year at motorcycle rally. I was there to sell leather vests & gear – http://www.dynamicleather.com & he was there to promote Full Throttle Saloon. He is the most down to earth man and very respectful .. Good work Michael… Good luck

  3. I went their and was refused entry due to my three piece patch.
    I turned to walk away and looked up at a huge three piece patch that was their logo.
    Had to scratch some dandruff off my head..

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