Small-town bar owner using Rally week to give back to her community

Local News

ENNING, S.D. (KELO) – Highway 34 may not be as busy as the interstate, but that doesn’t mean you won’t hear bikes roaring along the road. And when they do, Nellie’s Saloon and Mercantile is open for business.

Most bikers will take the interstate to Sturgis for Rally week, but some, like James Elbert from Watertown, will take other routes, like Highway 34.

“Usually, yup. I don’t think I’ve ever taken, maybe once maybe, taken another way,” Elbert said.

Nellie’s Saloon and Mercantile has become a tradition for him.

“It’s just a nice, cool environment and I guess we stopped here the first time we went down and we’ve just been stopping here ever since,” Elbert said.

Caren Assman, owner of Nellie’s, is using the business from bikers to give back to the community. Proceeds from her Rally special of pulled pork and beans goes towards the local volunteer fire department and ambulance.

“The ambulance and the fire department is desperately needed out here. We couldn’t live without them and so it’s my opportunity to give back and help the community,” Assman said.

That money is especially helpful as Meade County continues to experience a severe drought.

“They’re having a little bit of a tough time out here right now. It’s a severe drought out here and hay is tough to come by and we’re all worried about every little thunderstorm that comes through that it might start a fire,” Assman said.

Assman says she has hosted a few other fundraisers to help the fire department and ambulance too, as well as the Union Center community center.

Assman began Nellie’s eight years ago, but this spot along highway 34 has a history that dates back 75 years. You can learn about that history in Monday night’s Eye on KELOLAND.

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