It was just seven months ago that Full Throttle Saloon owner Michael Ballard, back home in Tennessee after the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, received the devastating news.
Ballard says, “I got a phone call at 1:30 in the morning, and then I went to the airport and jumped a plane. I didn’t get to Rapid until 12 the next day, and by the time I got here, it was already done.
It was like losing a family member.”
What once was known as “the world’s largest biker bar” burned down in a fiery blaze, that no one could stop.
But now Ballard is planning to rebuild the Full Throttle Saloon and take over the Broken Spoke Campground, five miles from the previous location.
Broken Spoke co-owner Richard Krone says, “He came to us and made us an offer, and it was a very interesting offer, and a very fair offer.”
It was a move that Ballard wrestled with in his mind for months, trying to decide whether to rebuild… or re-locate.
Ballard says, “We were busting at the seams where we were, and we were landlocked. So even though the fire was devastating, it opened up other opportunities. If we were ever going to be a bigger facility, it made sense that this was the time to move.”
Ballard says the 600-acre venue will allow them to offer 450 RV sites, 300 cabins and ample parking for all visitors.
The old location will have a large tent with a bar and stage set up so people can come take pictures of the remains.
Ballard says, “We’re going to integrate some of the stuff that burnt into the new bar so people can see the old bikes and some of the stuff that we lost in that fire in this place, so it’s going to be cool.”
The Broken Spoke Campground will be renamed as the Pappy Hoel Campground and Resort.
“You know Pappy Hoel is the founder of this event, he’s the founder of the Rally, him and his wife Pearl. His son Jack is still alive. Just honoring the people who started this whole event, we’re only here because of them.”
Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 2:51 pm | Updated: 2:57 pm, Wed May 25, 2016.
Gary Matthews | 0 comment
STURGIS, S.D. – With its incorporation in limbo, the latest story coming from the Buffalo Chip is a proposed billboard sure to draw even more criticism of the rally-related venue east of Sturgis.
Meade County Commissioners today approved setting a public hearing for the 13-feet by 40-feet, double sided electronic billboard. The vote to set the hearing was 3-1, with District 4 Commissioner Bob Bertalotto voting no.
Campground owner Rod Woodruff wants to erect the billboard next to his large buffalo, at the corner of Fort Meade Way and 206th Street. That is just off South Dakota Highway 34.
For his sign to work, Woodruff is requesting a variance for the sign size because it is larger than what’s allowed according to the Meade County ordinance on billboards. He is also requesting to ‘not plat’ a billboard lot, as required by ordinance.
The public hearing will be held June 22nd at 1:00 p.m.
May 18th at 10:00 am
Matthew Training Center: 523 E. Capitol Ave. Pierre, SD 57501. Ground floor of the Foss Building.
If I hear of any changes in the agenda, I will send out another email alert.
Journal Editorial Board | Posted: Sunday, April 24, 2011 6:00 am
The fact that Bear Butte is a historic site that is sacred to Native Americans has added poignancy to the debate about whether to allow oil drilling nearby.
But the underlying arguments are relevant wherever oil drilling occurs, and should be issues of great concern to state officials as they ponder whether to allow the drilling to proceed.
The state Board of Minerals and Environment last year approved Nakota Energy’s plans to drill for oil on 960 acres 1.5 miles away from Bear Butte.
The board later determined a new hearing was required to consider the impact of drilling on the national historic landmark.
After several hours of public testimony last week, the board postponed a decision until May 18, when it will hear more testimony.
Expanding sources of domestic oil lessens our nation’s reliance on often hostile oil-producing nations in the Middle East that don’t have our best interests at heart.
One needn’t look far to understand the wealth oil drilling can bring – not only to landowners sitting on top of oil and the companies that extract it – but to the communities that benefit from the jobs and revenue generated by oil drilling.
The state of North Dakota expects to collect more than $2 billion in oil taxes over the next two years.
One also needn’t look far to grasp the environmental destruction oil drilling can cause. including well fires, spills, water depletion and contamination.
Thirteen oil companies in North Dakota recently reported spills after snow melt caused 32 oil waste pits to overflow. Regulators believe some companies ignored their warnings to protect the waste pits from spring flooding and failed to take action to prevent the spills.
The number of polluted acres is unknown and cleanup is expected to take months, regulators said. One spokesman for the petroleum industry chalked it up to a “natural disaster,” a feeble excuse that undermines oil companies that follow safety rules.
More than 250 oil companies operate in North Dakota, but staff shortages have left the state ill-equipped to closely monitor them.
South Dakota is thought to have great potential for oil extraction, perhaps on par with North Dakota. As it tries to tap that wealth, the state should learn from our neighbor’s mistakes and proceed with caution.
Private landowners have rights that government shouldn’t blithely ignore just because neighbors don’t like their plans.
Neither should government ignore the legitimate concerns of neighbors who have good reason to be concerned about oil drilling operations, and the environmental destruction it can cause when done improperly.
Done properly, oil drilling generates profits, income and economic opportunity that shouldn’t remain locked in the ground.
Done improperly, it can be a dirty business that does damage more costly than the money it generates.
It’s the state’s job to balance those interests and protect the beauty of our state, especially when tourism built upon that natural beauty is an integral part of our economy.
No one wants to gaze upon oil rigs from the top of Bear Butte, or see the area fouled by sloppy oil companies. But we would like to see the state find a reasonable compromise for the competing interests in this controversy.
If oil drilling can proceed with minimal intrusion on Bear Butte, the state shouldn’t deny a permit based upon heightened emotions.
If South Dakota lacks adequate regulations or staff to enforce them, it should make sure proper safeguards are in place before any more drilling permits are issued here.
CHET BROKAW, Associated Press
Published 08:30 p.m., Thursday, April 21, 2011
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Representatives of American Indian tribes asked a state board Thursday to stop development of an oil field near Bear Butte, saying the drilling would desecrate the western South Dakota mountain that’s a sacred religious site for many tribes.
Landowners from the area urged the Board of Minerals and Environment to respect private property rights and reaffirm its earlier decision to authorize development of the oil field in western South Dakota.
After hearing several hours of public comment Thursday, the board was unable to finish its hearing on the issue. It postponed a decision until May 18, when it will hear the final witnesses in the case.
For centuries, members of the Sioux, Cheyenne and other tribes have been climbing Bear Butte to fast and hold religious ceremonies. Colorful prayers cloths hanging from trees line the path to the top of the mountain, which rises about 1,300 feet above the surrounding plain on the north edge of the Black Hills.
Named Mato Paha, or Bear Mountain, because it resembles a sleeping bear lying on its side, it was formed by volcanic rock.
The board in November approved Nakota Energy LLC’s application to establish a 960-acre field for the production of oil and gas, with spacing of no more than one well in each 40-acre tract. The spacing order would allow up to 24 wells in the oil field, which is located on private land slightly more than a mile from Bear Butte.
The board later reopened the case after determining that it had failed to follow a state law requiring protection of cultural resources related to property with a historic designation. More than third of the oil field is within the Bear Butte National Historic Landmark. The mountain also is part of a state park.
The board could reauthorize the order allowing the drilling, revoke it or amend the order to limit potential impacts to Bear Butte. State Historic Preservation Office Jason Haug has recommended certain conditions, such as requiring short pump jacks, to minimize the oil field’s damage to the view from Bear Butte.
Haug will testify in the case when the hearing resumes next month.
Officials from several American Indian tribes urged the board to block the oil field because the noise and sight of the wells would ruin the peace and quiet of the mountain used for religious purposes.
Michael Jandreau, chairman of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, said the oil field would interfere when people visit Bear Butte for spiritual purposes.
“There is a lot of land in South Dakota and there are areas much more suited to be exploited if that is the desire of the state,” Jandreau said.
Russell Eagle Bear, historic preservation officer for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, said he is disturbed by the company’s use of the name Nakota. The three groups of the Sioux tribes are called Nakota, Dakota and Lakota.
“For a company to use this name, I think it’s really disrespectful,” Eagle Bear said.
Janeen Walker Norstegaard, owner of some of the land involved in the oil field, said she respects Bear Butte and intends to make the oil company follow the rules in developing the wells. She said she supports the development because she believes it can be done without causing any harm to the area.
“I trust that can be done in an environmental way that is not a desecration of the mountain,” Norstegaard said.
Norstegaard said she wants to protect underground water and the view from Bear Butte, but the nation also needs more oil.
“I do have a great respect for Bear Butte. I love Bear Butte as much as you do,” she told others at the hearing.
Other landowners said groups from outside the area should not be allowed to interfere with the rights of property owners.
“I think if it’s my land, I ought to be able to do what I damn well please with it,” said George Millan, who owns land near the oil field.
The state’s historic preservation officer has recommended that small pump jacks and storage tanks painted neutral colors be used to minimize any harm to the view from Bear Butte. An archaeologist should check the area before ground is disturbed, and existing trails should be used when possible to avoid building new roads, he wrote in his recommendations to the board.