The world’s largest biker bar, the Full Throttle Saloon, is open for only ten days a year in August. Owner Mike Ballard has to turn a profit during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. From managing a full staff of bartenders and dancing girls to hosting big name concerts, burlesque shows and other biker-friendly acts; keeping it all together is more than most people could handle.
Angie Carlson is Mike’s girlfriend and the Marketing Director at the Full Throttle. Reality is, she’s attached to Mike’s hip ready to do anything and everything that goes down at the Throttle. Angie has her own section of the Full Throttle Saloon known as “Angieland.” There, visitors can get their picture taken with Angie’s perfectly proportioned derriere, believed to be the most photographed tush on the planet.
We spent a few minutes with Angie to talk about the new season of Full Throttle Saloon, airing every Wednesday at 9PM EST on truTV.
It’s just human nature to compare things when something new comes along. How do you compare this new season of Full Throttle Saloon to last season?
I was surprised by this season. We were thinking that because of the economy and the 70th Sturgis anniversary last year that we were gonna have a down year. It really exploded on us. We took everything to a whole new level from all aspects and had an incredible crowd. When you mix booze and bikers you have drama all around you. Then you throw in a couple of hot chicks and it really gets fired up!
That’s a very dangerous combination! I remember reading that the ratings at truTV are skyrocketing, maybe single-handedly due to the success of your show. What do you think about that?
It’s so amazing. It’s such a positive thing. truTV is a fairly new network. It keeps growing and growing and they have a super crew that knows what the consumer is looking for. Obviously, they’re on top of it because they picked Full Throttle Saloon as one of their shows!
It has to be a great feeling to know you’re a part of the network as it grows. You get to see it from the ground up and really be a part of it.
It’s really rewarding. And going back to the Throttle from it’s beginning has been an incredible learning experience. I’m no spring chicken, but because of the experience growing with the Throttle I’ve got to learn business at hyper-speed.
And people get to see that on the show. There are definitely a lot of emotions involved when it comes to business and money.
Oh yeah! And then throw in the part about being in a relationship with your boss! You wanna talk about emotions being involved? (laughs)
There are so many reality shows to choose from these days. What do you think makes your show so appealing?
Everybody says they have a reality show but you don’t really know what part of it is real. As fast-paced and strenuous as Full Throttle is, trying to make your entire income for the whole year in ten days, you don’t have a choice but to be real. It’s balls to the wall, working your ass off, making sure you get your bills paid. You don’t have time to think about setting something up. That’s what is so appealing about our show. This is our reality. It really is what’s happening. The option of re-doing something to make it more dramatic is just not there.
So much is riding on those ten days. Is it easy to have fun under all that pressure?
It’s fun the whole time. What’s really amazing about having a job like this is you get to be with your friends at work all the time. Born and raised in Sturgis, I’ve been around bikers my entire life. The entire experience if fun for me. Even though I’m crunching numbers or serving a beer or whatever, I’m usually handing that beer off to one of my buddies or a family member. This job is fun for me all the time.
Tell me what you do the other 355 days of the year.
It really takes all year to get this party rollin’. We spend a lot of the year getting sponsorships. If you go to a Ted Nugent concert you’ll normally pay fifty dollars a ticket. Because of the work Michael and I do in the background we can offer that ticket for ten bucks. Right now we’re in New York promoting the show. Next month we’ll be in Kansas City. From January 14 until Daytona we’ll be on the road every single weekend in a totally different state promoting the show and telling people about Sturgis. On top of that, the Flaunt Girls are getting booked at all these different venues. I’ll go to Kansas City and sign autographs and sell tshirts, get on stage and do a Flaunt Girls performance and then go to a premiere party to meet more fans. We stay quite busy. We’ve been doing road shows to promote Sturgis ever since we’ve been open.
I heard something crazy. After hearing you explain what all is involved for one show makes this sound even crazier. I heard you’re planning on taking Full Throttle Saloon on tour next year.
Yeah! We’re working on that right now. We played around with the idea a little bit. We did a show in Laconia, New Hampshire, and sat up what was basically a mini Full Throttle Saloon. We had such a response to it we thought why not see what other cities want us to come to their town. People really want something to come to them, to their area. Everybody wants that experience they see on TV. You know how hard it is to get to South Dakota. Why hold it back from people? Let’s take it to them. People may not have the resources to come to Sturgis but we can bring the Throttle to them.
Angie, best of luck with the new season! What would you like to say to your fans to wrap things up?
I really appreciate all your support. It’s obvious you’re behind us 110 percent and the ratings on the show have gone through the roof. We had the best premiere out of all three seasons last week. We had 1.6 million people watch the show. I just wanna say thank you for the support!