Pocatello Tattoo Convention kicks off with beer, live music and a shotgun

6 Jan

Zach Reynolds, a tattoo artist from Euphoria, tattoos a customer's arm at the Pocatello Tattoo Convention on Friday afternoon. (Jamie Hale/The Bannock Alternative)

by Jayson Merkley

What do tattoos, beer, music and shotguns all have in common? The Pocatello Tattoo Convention! “But TBA, what’s a tattoo convention and is it something I should be interested in?” We’re glad you asked. Here’s a rundown of the highlights.

Maniac Mike’s tattoo and the Gate City Community Center (who is providing the venue) are hosting the 2012 Pocatello Tattoo Convention this weekend. According to community center events coordinator Tony Hansen, the event is meant to bring the community together to raise tattoo awareness.

There was a time, said Hansen, when tattoos were considered taboo. But he contends that this is no longer the case. The Pocatello Tattoo Convention provides an opportunity for the community to come see the artists in action and find out what tattooing is all about. Several local shops have booths set up to show off their work, and are actively working at the same time.

We pried tattoo artist Lee Ames away from the festivities to tell us what the convention means to him. Ames, who works at Salty’s tattoo in Pocatello, said the convention is about supporting the tattoo community. He said most artists plan appointments for convention tattoo sessions in advance, but some artists will most likely be willing to do work for convention patrons who wander in.

The convention will even be handing out awards in multiple categories for tattoo artists, which Ames reluctantly admitted would bring out the competitive nature of some artists. But overall he said everyone appreciates each others’ strengths and learns from one other. “It makes us all a little better,” he said.

Additionally the event is sponsoring the Bannock County Search and Rescue. Stephen Rowe, a Search and Rescue member, said homeland security regulations are requiring search and rescue operations to switch to a narrow band system (in other words, a fancy type of radio), and money is therefore tight.

Search and Rescue will be running raffle drawings all three days of the convention, using the proceeds to pay for the new equipment. Prizes include tattoo gift certificates and other random stuff like hats and even a bike. “But TBA, can we win a shotgun in the raffle?” That’s a startlingly specific question, and we’re a little creeped out that you asked, but the answer is YES. You can win a shotgun in the raffle.

Did we mention there’s live music? Hansen said 15 bands representing a wide spectrum of genres will play throughout the weekend. “But TBA, I can’t listen to music without drinking beer!” That’s really odd, but we don’t judge here. Just to be clear, the Pocatello Tattoo Convention is an all-ages event, but there is an upstairs beer garden in case you get thirsty.

It’s a great opportunity to get educated in all things tattoo, listen to some tunes, support Bannock County Search and Rescue, and maybe make a new friend. “But TBA, I hate tattoos, music, good causes and friends!” Well, did we mention you can win a shotgun?

The three-day event is taking place at the Gate City Community Center located at 415 Yellowstone, Suite F (across the street from Mama Inez). Admission is $25 for a three-day pass or $12 for a single-day pass. Search and Rescue raffle tickets are $5 each or five for $20. The convention started earlier this afternoon and will continue tonight until midnight. The convention is open Saturday from noon to midnight and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.

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