Somewhere along Highway 212, in the middle of nowhere, you’ll pass the Stoneville saloon. It’ll be on the right as you pass through Alzada, Montana, heading south-east towards the state line with South Dakota. Blink and you’ll miss it. Alzada only had a population of 29 at the last count in 2010!
‘Cheap Drinks – Lousy Food’, the slogan above the entrance is well renown, mostly within the biker fraternity. The spit and sawdust interior with a bar that was constructed for a Deadwood (SD) saloon in 1865, suggest you’ve stepped through a time-warp as you cross the threshold. The place has been a saloon since 1939 and Diane, the proprietor, likes it this way. She’s a serious biker queen and not one to argue with. A former beach babe from California she took over the reins, or should I say handlebars, of the Stoneville, 25 years ago with her then partner. “He’s long gone” she says, “But I’m still here” despite the fact that for 51 weeks of the year the place is virtually empty – “Just a few ranchers and the occasional tourist”. That all changes the first week of August when the place is over run
with visitors to the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. “I make enough money in that week to survive the rest of the year” declares Diane. With over 500,000 bikers attending the rally, the Stoneville becomes a regular watering hole, with a nice 60 mile spin on the Harley to whet a riders appetite for those cheap drinks and that lousy food!