Nugent Returns to Full Throttle Saloon; Rally Thrives on Trumpist Incivility

Responding to public blowback over his decision to book Indian-hating Ted Nugent to perform during the 2014 Sturgis Rally, Full Throttle Saloon owner Michael Ballard said he didn’t know about Nugent’s  wouldn’t book the racist screamer again:

Ballard told the television station that his business –– billed as the “world’s largest biker bar” – “is not a racist establishment.”

“I can’t turn around and walk away from $150,000,”  Ballard said of his contract with Nugent, adding that in retrospect he wouldn’t have booked Nugent. “I mean that’s the nuts and bolts of it. Now that we’re made aware of it, we’ll listen to it next time” [Bill Morlin, “South Dakota Saloon Regrets Hosting Racist Rocker Ted Nugent,” Southern Poverty Law Center: Hatewatch, 2014.08.07].

KOTA-TV reported then that Ballard wouldn’t book Nugent again unless “things are resolved between Nugent and Native Americans.”

Unless I missed some stealth reconciliation, Ballard has gone back on his word. As if to put a big inflatable middle finger on top of the new Full Throttle Saloon and campground that Ballard is building near Lakota sacred site Bear Butte (four and a half miles away, at a site already used for concerts, but still closer than it was in town), Ballard is listing Ted Nugent as performing on Tuesday, August 9.

Alas, Nugent’s incivility fits well with much of the other Rally activity. An eager reader found a Rally vendor setting up the following display of misogynist, treasonous Trumpism, all for sale at South Dakota’s biggest tourist event (I apologize for the vileness, but we have to document the white male rage that Trumpism is really about):

Pro-Trump/Anti-Clinton bumper stickers for sale, Sturgis, South Dakota, July 31, 2016.
Pro-Trump/Anti-Clinton bumper stickers for sale, Sturgis, South Dakota, July 31, 2016. (Eager reader photo!)

The Republican nominee emblazoned in front of the Confederate traitor flag, male reproductive organs used as symbols of strength, female genitalia used to deride, plus a gratuitous slap at transgender identity—that’s the kind of speech that Trumpist Ted Nugent thinks deserves the Medal of Freedom… and that’s just the kind of speech and ethos that the Full Throttle Saloon, the Sturgis Rally, and our conservative state in general embrace this time of year as the basis of their tourism business model.

57 Responses to Nugent Returns to Full Throttle Saloon; Rally Thrives on Trumpist Incivility

  1. mike from iowa

    Indian-hating Ted Nugent link takes me to Brown County decision not to sell liquor at rodeo. Nothing about Nugent hating Indians.

    Did I miss something?

  2. I have never attended the Sturgis rally. I have seen and heard lots about the rally that does not represent all of the people that attend the rally. If we turn the Sturgis rally into something that is politically correct you can kiss it goodbye. The attendance would drop to almost nothing. The whole regions economy would suffer and would impact the whole state’s economy. Like it or not we probably will have to tolerate it.

  3. At least there is a Bernie sticker! How could the same people who embrace Trump’s hate also support Bernie’s message of inclusion and love???

  4. @Paul T: Maybe anti-establishment sentiment is the common ground.

  5. Sometimes you just have to shake your head.

  6. Is Trump going to Sturgis? He could show up to Rapid City in his jet. Tie up traffic for hours, talk about how he loves motorcycles though he’s never ridden one, make a show of eating a slice of street vendor pizza with a fork and knife, and throw some other non-sensical comment in to bait the national press. “Look. There’s my Asian in the crowd. Who knew Asians rode Harleys – Are you with me? I love Chinese food by the way.”

  7. That’s funny stuff Rorschach!

  8. mike from iowa

    Drumpf hires the best people to shake his head.

  9. mike from iowa

    Then he doesn’t pay them.

  10. Paul, TImoteo, I suspect the Bernie sticker is there less out of sincere common anti-Establishment sentiment and more out of ironic liberal-baiting. Trumpists don’t want a President Sanders: they want to play on Bernie emotionalism to achieve their own Aryan David Duke ends.

  11. Greg, I don’t think ever every Rally-goer and every Rally event is misogynist, but the misogynist objectification of women is prevalent enough that I could not in good conscience take my daughter to Sturgis to walk around or attend concerts.

    If you contend that making the event “politically correct” (which is code for not saying and doing sexist, racist, stupid things that attack the values of pluralistic democracy, like some of the Trump bumper stickers on display) would kill the rally, then you are suggesting that offensive attitudes like Nugent’s dominate the attitudes of Rally-goers. I’ll harken to Mike’s comment about no liquor at the Brown County Fair’s Dacotah Stampede Rodeo: if an event can’t survive without appealing to unhealthy attitudes and behaviors, is that event worth keeping around?

    I’ll turn that line of thinking toward Ted Nugent: what’s doing more to sustain his career and box office draw, his musical talent or his hateful verbal provocations?

    And I’ll turn that line of thinking toward Trump and the bumper stickers on display at that Sturgis vendor’s spot: if Trump’s appeal depends on shouting that he’s got balls and that only a “pussy” would vote for Clinton, is a vote for Trump morally acceptable?

  12. Sturgis is just an anachronism. If you’re not a non-conformist there, you just don’t fit in.

  13. Cory, I really don’t think that a bumper sticker displayed at the Full Throttle Saloon should really define either candidate. As far as Ted Nugent I don’t know that much about him and would never attend his show. A very small percentage of total people will attend the show. The majority of people that attend the rally are tourists, not hard core bikers. They are people that can separate the things that you and I would see as offensive. I wouldn’t take my teenage daughter there either.

  14. There are times and places for events to appeal to unhealthy attitudes and behaviors, and the Sturgis rally is one of those times and places. It has never billed itself as a family event.

    Cory, it is thinking like yours – that all events should be sanitized to your liking – that is producing the pushback that is fueling Trump. This is a free country. People have different beliefs, different interests. If you’re not interested in the spectacle that is the Sturgis rally, then don’t go. Those who go can do without your preaching. If they want to see Ted Nugent, more power to them. They know what they’re getting. If they want to protest the Ted Nugent show that’s fine too.

  15. I went to a Nugent/ZZ Top concert here in MN. ZZ Top was awesome as usual but Nugent was just couldn’t keep his big ugly opinionated redneck mouth shut. A lot of his comments the whole evening were directed negatively toward liberals and at one point he had a big poster of Hillary and was shooting a gun at it.
    I would never go to one of his concerts again, only if he shut his big mouth up.

  16. Cory wouldn’t approve of that pearl necklace song either, Jenny. Oh the horror!

  17. BIll DIthmer

    Ted crapping his panties on one side and Bono spouting his bs on the other. I guess iy depends on whos ox is being gored. Not every place is for kids.

    Here is an idea, start a rally of your own. You know, family friendly. Then you can make the rules for your rally. Some of you seem to have a hypocritical view on morals ,even as you criticise those on the right for the same thing.

    The Blindman

  18. Roger Cornelius

    Misogamy has always been a part of the Sturgis Rally, their ‘biker babes’ will expose their breast in public if you only ask them and do it with pride with full support of their biker ‘man.

    Nothing will ever educate Ted Nugent and his ilk, they love what they do and love the attention they get.

    They flaunt the confederate flag as a part of who they are and turn around and demand the U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment protect their guns from President Obama.

    Ted Nugent is God’s mistake, he and his supporters including Michael Ballard represent the worst of America.

    Ted Nugent represents the republican party, the party of family values, why republicans support Nugent’s filth is the question that demands an answer.

  19. Roger, I think you knowthe answer as to why republicans support Crapping Ted. Remember what they did to disrespect wounded vets when they kept quiet about a superimposed picture of Osama bin Laden over the face of triple amputee Max Cleland? Cickets, just like now regarding the Khan’s?

  20. Ror, I’m not asking that every event be sanitized to my liking. I’m just asking that people not be vulgar, sexist, racist pigs. Is that really such an excessive expectation?

  21. Jenny, real shooting at the poster, with real bullets?

  22. well, hasn’t the rally really evolved into a loud, abrasive, political gathering of primarily republican “vulgar, sexist, racist pigs”? we should put it up next to mt. rushmore. in February.

    all rapid citians I have known for my lifetime here that don’t directly make money off the biker tourism leave during those lost “July/August primo summer months” that we wait for all year long.

    I swim distance a lot at pactola and just realized those hills are covered with lodge pole pine, not Ponderosa. When i’m underwater, its hard to tell the difference between a threatening power boat bearing down, or bikers accelerating across the dam. damn:) progress! for lawyer ron woodruff owner of the chip I guess.

    Indians lost the hills (Grant wouldn’t enforce the 1868 Treaty after Custer was sent to “discover” gold in 1874), and are now losing Bear Butte as Meade County Commissioners won’t protect the Meade County version of Mt. Rushmore, Bear Butte or Mato Paha, I think),a prominent Lakota and Cheyenne sacred site. Political correctness for Ballard, Woodruff, sheitty guitarist Ted Nugent ect.

  23. Cory, now that I remember it was the flaming arrow routine he does, not a gun. Sorry, this was back in 2003, I didn’t really mind his conservative mouth piece but when he starting arrow shooting Hillary I thought this was going too far.

  24. postscript for BCB: in 68 or so Ted used my 63 blonde fender twin with backwards america flag as grill cloth, at his 1st Black Hills concert.

    he profanely screamed and swore at the finale thru his microphone that he’d come back with his own amplifiers someday and blow all our F***king Ears out. sweet guy. basically a carnival barker

  25. God, Cory, you are so “RIGHT ON’ . But then, this kind of crap has made the ‘Rally’ so what it is. No, we don’t agree with it, but it is what it is…….

  26. Darin Larson

    Speaking of “vulgar, sexist, racist pigs”, here is video from Trump rallies over the past year:

  27. was Nugent a draft dodger.

  28. Ahh, the Nugent Vietnam War story is one to behold Moses. Needless to say. He did not go al la trump.

    Meanwhile, thousands of native American men and women have willingly helped attack the front lines of The USA enemies for generations.

    Tribes have quietly bought private land around bear butte. Between the new throttle and Bear Butte sits land owned by the Rosebud and Northern Cheyenne tribes.

    As the Dali Lama once said…prayer is great but action is greater.

    I have found that many bikers respect the religious beliefs of natives once they are educated about them. After all they believe in freedom. .and that includes religion.

    They will be gone in a week and the mighty bear butte will remain.

  29. The nature of Nugent’s draft-dodging is debatable, though it’s clear that, whether by student deferment or by deliberate drug abuse, Nugent avoided military service. I wonder: do we have an entire generation of angry white men who are still trying to live down their cowardice with Trumpist machismo?

  30. mike from iowa

    Nugent claims he has never taken drugs. He also claims his story about the induction center stink-out was made up.Then here was his story about “nunning” in Detroit as a teen. Wish I could find that interview again.

  31. mike from iowa

    Crusty langwidge along with crusty Nugent. This guy sounds exactly like Drumpf.

  32. I don’t remember the incident that Jenny is referring to, but I’m sure she is absolutely correct. The one that is so vivid in my mind is from 2007, where he insulted then Senators Obama and Clinton, while prancing around back and forth on the concert stage with two long guns. Saying that the two senators should do sexual things to his guns. (Second Amendment, right? gag) Also, throwing in insults, profanities, and name-calling.

    This “popularity by vulgarity” is a big money making business these days.

  33. I propose we stipulate that Ted Nugent is a POS and that we write him off as such and never attend his concerts/political rallies. Can we all agree to that?

  34. bearcreekbat

    leslie, your mention of a 63 blonde fender twin makes my mouth water – thanks! But thinking of Nugent using it make me throw up a little in my mouth.

  35. mike from iowa

    Jake with me, Ror. Nugent is the embodiment of every thing wrong with wingnuts. His vitriolic rantings prove you can’t embarass right wingers.

  36. Mike Kokenge SR

    People who buy these bumper stickers will probably also pay to see nugent. What irony!!!

  37. happy camper

    To say the rally thrives on Trumps incivility is a huge generalization. It attracts a complete mix of people many riders are doctors lawyers accountants and all walks of life. As Dithmer says many venues are not appropriate for children but let’s not stereotype motorcycle riders in the vein of ignorant Hells Angel types.

  38. bearcreekbat

    I have attended the Sturgis rally for many, many years and have seen it evolve from a party in the city park campground to what it is today. happy is right in describing the attendees – they are a mix of folks with varying backgrounds and beliefs, including a huge number of Christian bikers. Lazy thinking generalizations or stereotypes fail to accurately describe the people who attend the rally, any more than lazy generalizations describe immigrants, women, African Americans, or even Trump supporters.

  39. A lot of nice bumpers stickers. Trying to figure out how to get them all on my bumper

  40. happy camper

    Bicyclists often judge this way even more so that subset of recumbent riders. The vast majority of motorcyclists are peace loving freedom seekers not very different from you and me. Their legs don’t get tired but we still have much more in common than what’s different.

  41. Darin Larson

    Sam, why don’t you take the white sheet off your head and then put the stickers on the sheet being careful not to cover the eye holes?

  42. Roger Cornelius

    My elder sister and my niece attended the Willie Nelson concert last night at the Buffalo Chip and had a great time.
    A biker in the parking lot offered to help them navigate the crowd to the venue and found them great seating. How nice is that?
    They also met a ‘pretty cool’ guy from Ireland and had a good visit with him as well as singing a few Irish melodies.
    The only Trumper they encountered was a clown sitting in front of them and he had the good sense to be quiet about his politics.
    I got a nice 2016 Sturgis Rally baseball cap out of the deal.

  43. thx bcb, Jay, a local uses it in his recording studio locally, restored and available.

  44. Poppy Hoel the “Godfather” of the bike rally gave the southern Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes of Oklahoma 40 acres of land by Bear Butte in the 70s. To protect it and let them use for ceremony and prayer.

    The Full Throttle north of BB does change the game somewhat because it is a year around attaction. Perhaps our tribes can make the best of it and do some further education. I’m enjoying the comments about the crowd. BCB I’m with you on the changes. Million dollar RVS to guys with a nap sack. My first rally was 1978. My last was today…. there are more
    t-shirts in that town than any where in the whole universe I swear.

    Happy Camper , doctors, lawyers and accountants can get pretty rowdy at times.
    Actually my limited experience has shown some of those doctors lawyers n accountants don’t particularly like the idea of the indians controlling Bear Butte. Where’s the Banditos and Hello Angels I’ve met think it’s pretty frickin cool and free that we pray on a beautiful mountain. They have no interest in imposing on us. Their to busy committing crimes while everyone else is partying.

    Mike Ballard loves money and people throng to the throttle for needs I don’t have. Some respect Bear Butte n some don’t.
    Willie Nelson N Rogers sister hanging with the bikers..the diversity of the rally.
    I like the roast turkey legs and reminiscing. There a alot of natives that come to the rally. It’s an excuse to ride.

  45. Donald Pay

    I always have a hard time thinking of bikers as nonconformist as they all ride by on roaring Harleys wearing blue jeans and black t-shirts and black leather going to the same concerts and titty bars year after year. Some of these “nonconformists” don biker garb for a week, then go back to office garb. Any sort of sub-culture, biker or business, defines an acceptable “uniform” and behavior. It’s just not bikers of the motor variety, but I see lots of pedal bikers with their particular “uniform,” too. I think this need starts in middle school. I went through a phase of being conformist in the nonconformist sense, too, when I wore bell bottoms and a denim shirt with an upside down flag on the back. Some people grow out of it, or at least recognize it as conforming in a different way.

  46. I will be on 2 wheels at the rally this week, wearing blue jeans and a gray shirt from last year’s Bikes, Blues and Barbecue rally. I prefer non-black/non-white shirts. My jacket is a modern ballistic nylon with body armor and lots of bugs. I always wear a helmet – full face. Conformist, or nonconformist?

  47. This seems to me the rally when nobody showed up—lots of reasons for it — which I won’t go into at this time—it looks like South Dakota needs to go in a different direction—from politicians that SERVE THEMSELVES instead of SERVING THE CITIZENS OF SOUTH DAKOTA!! Motels with vacancies from Sturgis to Custer. Highways are virtually empty. I have never seen a rally so dead!

  48. Hap, I welcome photos of the Clinton bumper sticker vendor booth to temper my hasty generalization.

  49. Roger, I’m very glad you and your family had a good, non-Trumpy experience at the Rally. Willie Nelson! I’ll take all of that you’ve got. :-)

  50. Mr. C knows I’m not a fan of that Willy music but I am heartily renewed with some hope to hear that his sister and niece had a nice time, and I look forward to seeing this hat.

  51. Roger Cornelius

    grudz, I had no idea you were not a Willy fan, you can consider yourself in the minority on that point.
    Like I said grudz’s, mostly I was grateful that your buddy Trump was a no show with his fans.

  52. Mr. C, Trump is no buddy of mine, sir. His fanatics even less so.

  53. BlackHills76

    Cory is right. The Rally is a pain in the butt and I agree with his position that we should do what we can to get it ended in our State. There has to be another town in another State that would take this event.

  54. Yes. The rally is a pain in the butt. So is that 76 days thing with those corvette hotrodders running around, and that big wacipi they have and always create so much drama about. And that stockshow thing with the rodeo. We should get all of them away so people would leave us alone more.

  55. The big Honda bike w/two riders seems to chew up and spit single Harley’s out on the hills climbing outta RC. Is this true?

    the rally is here because it suits our lowest common denominator.

  56. On BH76’s agreement, to be clear, my position is that the Rally brings a lot of ugly behavior that contradicts the family values Republicans say they support and other attitudes that run counter to efforts to forge cross-cultural respect and reconciliation. My position does not extend to saying we should end the Rally.