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Native Sun News: Large biker bar inches closer to sacred Bear Butte

The pictured hustle and bustle at the former Full Throttle Saloon could be back after it burned down in 2015, if South Dakota regulators do not get Native American arguments for throttling down the rebuild of the “World’s Largest Biker Bar.” Photo courtesy Full Throttle Saloon

Commissioners OK biker bar licensing despite Lakota grandmother’s pleas to shield Bear Butte
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News
Health & Environment Editor

STURGIS –– County commissioners bestowed their blessing on two liquor license transfers for the “World’s Largest Biker Bar” here on April 27, over the objections of a Lakota grandmother and educator who said the action would allow development of an adult entertainment venue too close to the sacred site of Mato Paha, or Bear Butte.

The unanimous vote in favor of the transfers by the five members of the Meade County Board of Commissioners signals the South Dakota Revenue Department to proceed with liquor licensing for the Full Throttle Saloon & Campground’s new venue less than two miles north of Bear Butte State Park.

“This adult entertainment venue is entirely too close in proximity to Mato Paha/Bear Butte, one of our Lakota sacred sites in the Black Hills,” Lakota grandmother and educator Jace DeCory told the commissioners in a letter submitted before the vote.

“As individual tribal members, we see and experience the deleterious impact of commercial development and the increased presence of bars and concerts venues,” DeCory submitted. “This recent attempt to expand and develop cabins (400) at the Full Throttle in a new location, the former Broken Spoke, is about a mile from where our people fast and pray.

“This is our church, where we come to pray, not play,” she emphasized.

Full Throttle Manager Michael Ballard obtained unanimous preliminary approval from the Meade County Planning Commission on April 18 for platting to rebuild and expand his Full Throttle Saloon business on 50 acres closer to Bear Butte National Historic Landmark. He has dubbed it the World’s Largest Biker Bar.

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: Commissioners OK biker bar licensing despite Lakota grandmother’s pleas to shield Bear Butte

(Contact Talli Nauman at

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