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Saturday, August 8, 2009

No Smoking Signs Bring Record Business at Sturgis

Oh, what is the world coming to? The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally should be an event the anti-nanny-staters can celebrate: few rules, few clothes, real Americans reveling in freedom and drinking and smoking what they want (except for Bob Newland, who has to settle for taking pictures)! Yaarrr!

And then a bar/restaurant in the middle of the rally posts no smoking signs and blows the arguments against South Dakota's pending smoking ban all to heck.

Located right on Main Street, the Loud American Roadhouse is always a popular Rally restaurant, and managers say the switch to non-smoking hasn't changed that. In fact, they're not having problems filling tables at all.

"Actually, we're having a record year, by far. We are way, way up over last year," owner Dean Kinney said.

Kinney hung the non-smoking signs last November. Since that time, business has boomed, but the real test was the Rally. By the looks of things, his restaurant passed.

"In fact, it almost feels like so many of the guests are from out of state from places where it's kind of the norm so we have literally heard almost nothing about it whatsoever," Kinney said [Karla Ramaekers, "Switch to Non-Smoking 'Positive' During Rally," KELOLand.com, 2009.08.07].

Gee, did anyone else stop and think that folks who spend all day riding in the open air might actually enjoy fresh air indoors too?

The Rapid City Journal's Jessica Kokesh covered the Loud American's smart business move last week. Kokesh also notes management at First Gold Casino in Deadwood got similarly good responses from customers and employees on creating smoke-free spaces.

Maybe the nanny-staters are right: we don't need government to ban smoking. Businesses will just realize on their own that going smoke-free is just plain good for business.


  1. And Cory, that's the point. Let the market decide. Not Government.

  2. In regards to smoking prohibition in all bars and restaurants, my left and right brains are split (as they are on so many other issues). Left side: Let the market decide. Right side: Ban the bad air.

    If the smoking ban does not take effect, one might make a fortune by opening a "Clean Air Casino" in Deadwood. The Sturgis Experiment lends strong evidence to support this point.

    When I visited Medicine Bow (Wyoming) last spring and tested out the salad bar at "The Virginian Hotel" (of all places to not expect a salad bar!), smoke filled the air even in mid-afternoon. Athough my lungs disliked it, my heart twinged with nostalgia. Medicine Bow, that wind-swept, sun-scoured, human-forsaken gaggle of shacks on the tracks, is one of the last places the "Nanny staters" will conquer.

    May it always be so.

    Cough, cough. Sneeze, sneeze. THUD.


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