Getting fresh ink in Sturgis

Local News

STURGIS, S.D. (KELO) – There are many things to do in and around Sturgis and the Black Hills during Rally week. One popular option is getting inked.

On main street Sturgis you can find steps leading down to the underground Tattoo Cellar. This shop has seen 24 years of Sturgis Rallies.

“Most of the time we’re pretty busy down here,” Richard Otten, owner of the Tattoo Cellar, said. “We’ve got good artists from around the United States, they’re consistent, they put out great work and we back it up too.”

That’s right, down here it’s not just the bikers traveling from all over the country. It’s the artists too. Like Gelnn West from California who has come to Sturgis for 20 years specifically to work in the Tattoo Cellar.

“I come to Sturgis because I get to hang out with cool people, do rad tats on lovely bikers, and it’s a sickness. You’re just kind of addicted to Sturgis,” tattoo artist Glenn West said.

So why is getting a tattoo a popular part of the rally?

“Could be a number of things,” West said. “They could just be seeing people walking around, a whole bunch of people with tats. They could just finally want to make that plunge and they’re here. Some of them want to symbolize coming to Rally for the first time on their motorcycle and want to get something to remember it.”

And the types of tattoos people can vary as well.

“I did a girl sitting in a skull last night, naked girl sitting in a skull on a guys chest. But then I did a butterfly and a dragonfly just before that,” Otten said.

As for safety measures during the pandemic, Richard Otten, owner of the Tattoo Cellar, says not much has changed.

“If they want to wear a mask, I’ll provide one. You know, myself, I think I’ve already had it once, maybe even twice already. So, you know, if I’m going to go, I’m going to go,” Otten said.

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