When Ole and I spend a weekend in Medora we usually spend at least Friday night or Saturday night down at what used to be the Iron Horse Saloon. It used to be locally owned and locally patronized. So it was the FUN place in town to be. They used t have live music and dancing on the deck on Friday nights and karaoke on Saturday nights. It was a good way to meet the locals and get acquainted.
A couple of years ago the guy who had owned the Iron Horse decided to sell out and made the mistake of selling to someone NOT from the Medora area. Needless to say, everything changed – decor, prices and ultimately the patrons found somewhere else to go.
We didn’t know all this so decided to drop by last night and see what was going on. Five of us walked in, sat down at a table and waited 20 minutes or so and still had not been acknowledged by any of the servers. We did notice that there were no local people there, just very evidently tourists.
After waiting 20 minutes or so we decided to leave and went across the street to a place called the Little Missouri Saloon. Now all of Medora that’s on the north side of the highway is owned by the Medora Foundation. All of the businesses on the south side of the highway are privately owned – i.e. the Iron Horse Saloon, which has been renamed The Boot Bar and Grille. Somehow that new name made it lose some of its charm.
Well, we certainly found the right place to go in our quest for looking for a little local color and action. The Little Missouri was hopping – live music, a bit of karaoke and I’ve never seen so many REAL cowboys in one place for a long, long time. The only other non-local folks that were in there, other than our group, was another small group of bikers sitting by the bar.
The uniform of the day was Wrangler jeans, cowboy boots, some with a bit of road apple on them, wide leather belts with vey large brass buckles, western cut plaid shirts, bolo ties and 10-gallon hats. 90% of the women in the place were in Wrangler jeans and boots also. One old geezer that was sitting by the door when we walked in look a lot like a heavier version of Gabby Hayes – suspenders and mssing teeth included.
The dance floor was full with every song and the beer flowed rapidly. But everyone was well behaved – there were no gun fights (chuckle). That may have been due to the picture of a large gun hanging on the wall behind the bar that said, “We Don’t Dial 911!”
I visited with an older couple that was sitting at the table next to us. They were ranchers south of town that told me they had 37 miles to go home on scoria roads. That’s a long ways to come for a little partying time on Saturday night. But then I’m sure you don’t have to worry about getting a DUI on those back roads on your way home.
We had as much fun people watching last night as we did in the evenings in Sturgis. But these weren’t weirdoes, just honest, good, home-town folks that were out having a good time.
We left Medora this morning and are headed for New Rockford, ND where my Dad owned a farm at one time. We still have a number of relatives there so will spend a couple of days visiting cousins before heading home. I guess every vacation has to come to an end and it’s time for us to get back to reality.