Body art on display for Bike Week

SANDUSKY There was hardly any air circulating inside horse barn No. 5 on Thursday. The temperature was in the upper 80
May 24, 2010



There was hardly any air circulating inside horse barn No. 5 on Thursday.

The temperature was in the upper 80s and the sun was shining bright in a nearly cloudless sky.

But it didn't stop more than 50 tattoo enthusiasts from attending the tattoo contest that day.

The contest was an event that took place during Ohio Bike Week's first ever tattoo convention. The convention runs until Sunday at the fairgrounds, the last day of Bike Week.

View more photos at where we spotted more tats.

Big ones, small ones, colorful ones, black and gray ones -- men and women alike were anxious to walk on-stage to display their body canvases of art for everyone to see.

There were seven categories for the contest.

Best black and gray and best color for the week were for those who were inked with new tattoos during Ohio Bike Week. Best large male and female were for those who had larger artwork on a part of their body. There was also best Harley-Davidson, best color, and best black and gray tattoo categories.

Laura Marske of Sandusky signed up to compete in two categories: Best large female and best black and gray.

Marske, who has four tattoos, said she wanted to participate in the contest because she wanted to "show off" her tattoos, which she said were done well.

"They did a really good job with my tattoo ... it gives them bragging rights if I win," she said. Three of Marske's tattoos were done at Innovations in Ink in downtown Sandusky.

Roman Fleytuta drove in from Cleveland on Thursday to partake in this year's tattoo contest.

Fleytuta said he participated in Ohio Bike Week's tattoo contest last year and won best overall. He was hoping to win an award again this year.

"I've dedicated my life to using my body," he said.

Plaques and prizes were given out to the first, second and third place winners in each category. Prize bags filled with T-shirts, gift certificates and other trinkets were handed out to the top two places in each category.

Sandy Corte, co-owner of Pain & Pleasure Tattoo & Body Piercing, helped organize the tattoo convention this year. Last year, she helped organize the first ever tattoo contest during Ohio Bike Week that brought about 200 people to the event. Playing off of last year's success, Corte thought a convention this year would be just as successful.

Corte said this year's convention started off well June 2, but tapered once the bad weather appeared on Sunday.

"We're hoping everything will work out," said Corte about the studios that have been working at the convention all week.

Eight different area studios, including ones from Cleveland, Norwalk, Port Clinton and Sandusky, set up temporary shop at the fairgrounds.

Jeremy Jones, an artist and manager at Forbidden Tattoo & Body Piercing in Norwalk, said the studio wanted to participate in the convention to "show off some of our artwork to people who aren't familiar with us."

Jones said business has been pretty steady for the studio, but mentioned the weather kept many potential clients away.

"As long as people come in, we'll stay open," he said.

Corte said the tattoo convention will definitely return next year and hopes to book a few guest artists to come for the event.