Rural bar owners adapt old establishments to modern era

Friday, July 06, 2018

SHERIDAN — Parkman Bar & Grill owner Dennis Davis’ tenure had an inauspicious beginning. His first day as owner came on a hot, dry July day in the late 1980s. Davis was burning garbage behind the bar with the previous owner, who hadn’t cut the grass or weeds nearby, which grew to several feet in height.

All of a sudden, the burn got out of control and a larger fire started. Flames neared a propane tank, and the bar was miles and miles from the nearest fire station.

“I didn’t even know where the hoses were at,” Davis said, laughing about the incident years later. “So I take a broom and basically beat the fire out. I sit down on the steps and think, ‘Good God, what have I got myself into?’”

Despite the ominous start, Davis has owned the bar for about 30 years. The Parkman Bar & Grill is one of several establishments in Sheridan County that continues to operate in relative isolation. The rural bars aren’t stopping points, but rather final destinations.

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