South Dakota’s Full Throttle Saloon caught fire and burned to the ground early Tuesday morning. In addition to being the “world’s largest biker bar,” the iconic landmark was the focus of a self-titled truTV reality series.
As reported by KBHB Radio, crews were called to the scene just after midnight.
Witnesses said the fire appeared to originate inside the main building. However, it eventually spread to engulf several other structures. Although several agencies responded to the fire, and spent hours dousing the flames, the entire complex burned to the ground and was declared a total loss.
Full Throttle Saloon is owned by Michael Ballard, who is also the star of the five-season reality series. His co-stars include his girlfriend, Angie, and rocker Jesse James Dupree.
The Full Throttle Saloon was specifically popular during the annual Sturgis motorcycle rally — which attracts an estimated one million motorcycle enthusiasts each year.
— Billings Gazette (@billingsgazette) September 8, 2015
During the rally, the saloon hosted the Hollywood Knockouts female review, Midget Wrestling, the Ives Brothers Wall of Death, Circus Una, a burn out pit, and a zip line.
The saloon also hosted some of the nation’s biggest acts on their outdoor concert stage. Prior to the devastating fire, Foghat, Bret Michaels, Tanya Tucker, and Travis Tritt performed at the world-famous bar.
As discussed on the company website, Full Throttle Saloon served up to 15,000 patrons each night during the Sturgis Rally. According to Ballard, the saloon was successful because it was unique.
“Most bars are segregated by age. You have the dance club for young guys or the country club for the older fellas. Not at the Full Throttle. It’s common to see a 21-year-old guy sitting and having a beer with another guy old enough to be his granddad, and they both have riding motorcycles in common. It’s a real cool thing.”
Although a massive fire destroyed the Full Throttle Saloon, authorities confirmed no one was injured in the devastating blaze. Officials said they have not determined the cause, as the incident is still under investigation.