2016 - Spirit Award
Byron Stuart began tending bar 35 years ago in the same 122-year-old building he now owns. He bought it 19 years ago for all of $17,000 in an auction. Stuart, 56, is a lifelong fan of the Grateful Dead, the counterculture band that gained a loyal following beginning in the 1960s for its unique and eclectic style. The small western Iowa bar is filled with one of the largest collections of Dead memorabilia this side of San Francisco, from framed t-shirts, photos and posters to commemorative pins, teddy bears, and a cookie jar.
On weekends, the bar routinely hosts top live music, drawing fans from hundreds of miles around to the Calhoun County town of 710, about a two-hour drive from Sioux City. Several artists who have played here have gone on to fame, landing record deals and appearances on late-night TV talk shows. Live music still occurs at Byron’s in Pomeroy twice a month.
“The first national act was Todd Snider, a singer songwriter from Nashville. He’s been on both Leno and Letterman. Also, Walter Trout, a great guitarists, Corey Stevenson, a blues guy out of California, and Canned Heat,” says Byron.