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Bikers Bring Appetite for Ink to Motorcycle Week

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And if you think those Dutch fans at the World Cup were showing some skin, you should check out the scene in New Hampshire at Motorcycle Rally Week. There's plenty of exposed flesh, much of it covered in plenty of ink.

Reporter Shannon Mullen went to check out the tattoos.

SHANNON MULLEN reporting:

On Weirs Beach Boulevard in Laconia, it seems like people who have tattoos far outnumber those who don't. Ron Lafort(ph) from Massachusetts has his shoulders covered in ink and the word infantry tattooed across his chest.

Mr. RON LAFORT (Motorcyclist): Everyone's getting them. It's just, it's like a sickness, it's spreading. It's awesome. You can look at people's tattoos and tell what they've done, where they've been. It just says a lot about people.

Mr. KEVIN BLAZE(ph) (Motorcyclist): My name is Kevin Blaze, Salem, New Hampshire, and I just have tattoos, they tell a story of things I like. I'm a fireman so I have a firefighter tattoo. There's a fireman carrying a woman out of a burning building.

Mr. DERRICK POMERON(ph) (Motorcyclist): My name's Derrick Pomeron from New London, Connecticut. Basically I got tattoos all over the place and they're all skulls, demons, and flames. Little Harley Davidson stuff here and there, you know, not many mermaids and anchors anymore.

MULLEN: Demons and skulls.

Mr. POMERON: Yeah, skulls and flames, yeah.

MULLEN: Tattoos have changed a lot since patriotic symbols and names and hearts were popular in the 1940's. Every year just for bike week some temporary tattoo parlors set up at both ends of the boulevard.

(Soundbite of tattoo gun)

Inside the Tattoo Zoo, artist Big Steve Pulpert(ph) is starting an outline on a customer's lower back.

Mr. STEVE PULPERT (Tattoo artist, Tattoo Zoo): I've got, like, at least five clients that come here every year, they wait for me all year and they come in and they get big work.

MULLEN: Pulpert says as tattoos have become more acceptable in America, it might surprise some people to know who's getting them.

Mr. PULPERT: Doctors, lawyers, judges, bikers, most, yeah, but I'd say the majority of my clients at home are women, to be honest. I do, men tend to get bigger tattoos, but more women get tattooed than men, I think.

MULLEN: Actually it's about even, but women tend to get tattoos in places where the rest of us won't see them. Another solution for anyone else who might still be afraid of the stigma, there's tattoo ink now that you can't see, except under a black light.

For NPR News, I'm Shannon Mullen. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Shannon Mullen