Did You Know? Roller coaster logos make cool tattoos

April 6, 2014, 2:29 PM · I had long toyed with the idea of getting tattooed and finally, at the age of 62, under the bad influence of co-workers who were tattoo aficionados, I decided to do it. The question was what to have tattooed, preferably something about which I felt passionate: a cat? a tennis racquet? No, something to do with roller coasters! Because travelling to different theme parks and writing about roller coasters has consumed so much of my time and energy, a tattoo relating to these pursuits would say more about who I am than almost anything else.

The idea when I first went to a tattoo parlor for a price quotation was to get an entire roller coaster tattooed. However, the minute detail inherent in this would have made the tattoo prohibitively expensive and would have required hours to complete. So I settled for the next best thing, a roller coaster logo. As to which logo, the first was a no-brainer. It had to be El Toro, my longtime favourite. Never having sat for a tattoo before, I didn’t really know what to expect except that it would it hurt. And yes, it was painful but not intolerably so. I’m glad I did it and am pleased with the result, my only disappointment being that the yellow flames at the top of the logo are not easily discernible because yellow simply doesn’t show up well on the skin. It will be interesting to see whether the ride ops on El Toro notice the tat when checking my restraints.

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Which coaster to tackle next? (Hardly anyone stops at just one tattoo.) It had to be both a coaster I liked and one with an eye-catching logo. I considered Skyrush but dismissed that idea when my tattoo artist told me the design would be difficult to execute, thought about Intimidator 305 but wasn’t really bowled over by the Nascar theme, and considered The Voyage but rejected it in favour of Maverick because the latter had a lot more going for it. So it was back for round two, and getting Maverick inked into my leg proved to be a test of endurance. Whereas El Toro had taken about an hour to do, Maverick took about an hour and 40 minutes. It also took longer to heal because of the heavier ink. Now that it’s finished, I’m delighted with it and think that this is as cool a logo as I’ve seen. The tattoo itself is almost a masterpiece, down to the detail in the horse’s mane and the rope.

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I thought that I was done with tattoos – which can be addictive – for the time being and probably would have been except for one thing. I was invited to join people from four websites in posting our best ride experience of 2013. Of the five who participated, three including myself chose Outlaw Run as their best ride experience of last year. So of course I absolutely had to have the Outlaw Run logo tattooed, like the others in a spot where it wouldn’t be visible on a daily basis – because of my line of work. I don’t want to ever forget that I went all the way to Branson, MO just to ride a roller coaster and now I won’t. And Outlaw Run coordinates well with Maverick because of the equine motif. Although the actual logo is somewhat more elaborate than what I got, my tattoo artist and I agreed to simplify the design in order to cut costs and execution time. Surprisingly, the design was easier to execute than the last one and we were finished in about an hour and 15 minutes. Not only that, but it either wasn’t as painful as the last one or I’m getting used to it. (Only the aftermath was painful; a tattoo is, after all, a wound, and this one was in a sensitive spot.) It helps to have a good tattoo artist, and I was lucky enough to find one who’s easy to work with, can adapt any design and guarantees his tattoos. I’m getting a kick out of the tattoos but am not so sure that my tattoo artist shares my enthusiasm; he didn’t recommend any more coaster logos, saying that he didn’t want me to look like a refrigerator, lol. So for number 4, I ended up getting a cat tattoo after all. Tattoos by the awesome Bryce Nadeau, Body Graphics, 627 South 4th St. and 617 South St., Phila., PA. Thanks to Kevin Sommerville of Seger Playground for taking photos, and to Kate at Body Graphics for shooting a video.

Replies (8)

April 6, 2014 at 5:44 PM · Good Article!
April 6, 2014 at 7:37 PM · Terrific article, Bobbie! I never would have thought of it. I never got a tattoo- wanted to once, but my wife put the kibosh on that idea. She hit me with the old "I can't tell you what to do....but I wish you wouldn't." End of discussion. No tattoo. That being said, I love yours- especially the Maverick tattoo! One month until Cedar Point opens!
April 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM · James has Cedar Park fever. Camped out on the shores of Lake Erie, the only known cure is to ride every CP coaster from morning till night. Or, in this case,a tattoo of "every" Cedar Park coaster might work......Interesting article. I enjoyed the different slant.
April 7, 2014 at 8:23 AM · I admit it- I've got the fever. 34 days until Cedar Point opens for 2014, 32 days until Media Day when I get to ride Pipe Scream for the first time. Haven't started counting the hours...yet.
April 7, 2014 at 12:01 PM · I'm against tattoos. They send the wrong messages. Isn't it easier to use a sharpie? It lasts for at least one week.

Some places offer temporary tattoos that could last a few weeks. This might be the better option when you might consider going on vacation at the beach.

April 7, 2014 at 5:12 PM · What about Millennium Force? If you have to get a tattoo, you could either get one of MF's logo or of its first drop!
April 9, 2014 at 11:05 AM · I am all for this! My first tattoo I ever got was of Kingda Ka, I got the golden sun logo with all the gems and what not as a shoulder piece, came out beautiful and I even got a free Kingda Ka coffee mug out of it from the park.

The second roller coaster tattoo was Big Bad Wolf, since it was my first roller coaster ever and was taken down. That I got on my left leg by the same artist that did my Kingda Ka one and it looks amazing.

Roller coaster logos make great tattoos because the designs are made to stand on their own. It would be hard to melt them together into a sleeve or something but as a stand-alone image, they're perfect for it and can be modified so that it doesn't look EXACTLY like the logo if you don't want it to. The only people who recognize my Kingda Ka one are people who have been to the park and are familiar with that particular logo, otherwise people just see a very colourful, decorative golden sun with a tiger in it.

I already know my next one will be a watercolour style piece for Alpengeist. Nothing wrong with representing your favourite rides!

April 12, 2014 at 1:19 PM · How do tattoos send the wrong message?

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