This report in the Pulaski County Daily contains some off-kilter banter between officials at a Pulaski County (Mo.) Tourism Board meeting a few days ago.
Officials were talking about how area restaurants could draw visitors from far away, instead of just locals. The discussion turned to an old business along an old alignment of Route 66 in Devil’s Elbow, Mo.
Board member Todd Bailey had another idea: the Elbow Inn biker bar in Devil’s Elbow, which he called an “absolutely huge” attraction for people stopping in on Route 66 tours that could become even bigger with marketing.
“I am surprised by the wild hoodlum place out at the Elbow Inn,” Bailey said. “I ate there for the first time, what, three four weeks ago, and have since taken folks from St. Louis and from the Lebanon hospital down there. They have fallen in love with that. They are like, ‘Are you crazy? Has anybody ever got kicked out of the Elbow Inn, and if they did, what did they do?’ That’s the big thing: They are going back there and telling everybody about it.” […]
Board member Jackie Farris said she’s never been to the Elbow Inn, prompting an enthusiastic response by Bailey.
“You’ve never been there? You have to go there!” Bailey said. “It is an experience, and once you experience it, you’ll be able to put it on to somebody and say it with enthusiasm… ‘It is worth your time to come down from St. Louis, go to the Elbow Inn, spend the night at one of our hotels, get up in the morning, and slather yourself back to St. Louis.’” […]
Rick Morris, a retired sergeant major in the Army’s military police corps, said law enforcement personnel visiting the Elbow Inn include the head of the Army’s criminal investigation division, or CID. “The provost marshal general of the Army, her bra is in that Elbow Inn, just so you know,” Morris said. That’s Brig. Gen. Colleen L. McGuire, the Army’s first female provost marshal general and head of CID.
Responding to board member questions, Morris explained that there are bras hanging from the ceiling of the Elbow Inn.
“It is a huge attraction, and I don’t think it is in a negative way,” Bailey said. “It is just an experience and I’m glad I got to be a part of it.” […]
Bailey said the bras in the Elbow Inn could be key to a marketing campaign.
“Can we market for them? Somewhere in Columbia if you did an advertisement of, ‘Come on down, but ladies bring an extra brassiere, because you’re going to need it,’” Bailey said. “People are going to say, ‘What in the world is going on with this place down here?’ … Whoever thought of it, wow, it is just fantastic.”
The newspaper also reported that despite the Elbow Inn being a biker bar, it’s owned by a retired cop, and area records indicate the tavern doesn’t generate more police calls than any other drinking establishment.
But getting back to the bras on the ceiling … it calls to mind what “Route 66: The Mother Road” author Michael Wallis has said: If you want to succeed in the long term on the Mother Road, you need a gimmick to draw in the tourists.
The Elbow Inn indeed boasts a memorable gimmick — and good barbecue, too.
UPDATE 5/3/2011: I received an e-mail statement today from Rick Morris that he wished to retract his public statement about Brig. Gen. Colleen L. McGuire, and added: “I completely misspoke and what was said was false…” That part of the excerpt from the Pulaski County Daily has been stricken.