The NoCo Tattoo Convention brings it all to a three-day convention

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Over the years, tattoos have become commonplace on the bodies of people of all ages, races, backgrounds and careers.

Some people get tattoos to signify a cause like breast cancer or autism, while others have tattoos that honor deceased loved ones or friends. Then there are the people who have tattooed themselves with something weird or random just to say they have a tattoo.

No matter the tattoo, there is surely an interesting story behind it.

The NoCo Tattoo Convention brings together tattoo fans and artists of all ages to celebrate and recognize the art of tattooing during a three-day event at the Ranch Events Complex. The event will be the first major tattoo convention to be held in northern Colorado.

The first NoCo tattoo convention will begin at 3 p.m. Friday at the Ranch Events Center in Loveland. (Photo courtesy of NoCo Tattoo Convention)

Convention organizers Rito Ramirez and Hilda Arellano partnered with local tattoo shops, vendors and tattoo industry leaders to bring the convention to NoCo.

Hosting a tattoo convention is second nature to Ramirez and Arellano as they are also president and vice president of the Colorado Tattoo Convention and Expo, respectively, and host the fall event in Denver.

The Denver convention and expo attracts hundreds of tattoo artists from the United States and around the world for three days of competitions, live tattoos and seminars, as well as thousands of tattoo fans and spectators attending. a variety of activities, demonstrations and shows.

Ramirez and Arellano wanted to bring a smaller version of the Denver convention to northern Colorado to help shine a light on the area’s tattoo artists and the incredible work they do.

While the duo worked to bring the NoCo Tattoo Convention to Loveland, the pandemic put the schedule for the inaugural event on hold.

“We felt that northern Colorado has a lot of stores, but there’s a lot of non-communication between stores, so they don’t really know each other and the big players in the industry like sales people, distributors, tattoo suppliers and manufacturers.” Ramírez said. “It’s a great way for them to meet these people in the industry and our focus for this convention is the artists of Colorado and the area.”

LASALLE, CO - APRIL 3:85 PM South Tattoo is seen in LaSalle on April 15, 2022. The shop is a sponsor of the upcoming 2022 NoCo Tattoo Convention in Loveland.  (Alex McIntyre/staff photographer)
LASALLE, CO – APRIL 3:85 PM South Tattoo is seen in LaSalle on April 15, 2022. The shop is a sponsor of the upcoming 2022 NoCo Tattoo Convention in Loveland. (Alex McIntyre/staff photographer)

Approximately 70% of performers at the convention will be from Colorado, with the remaining 30% coming from out of state or country.

“When we do our shows, we want to show Colorado, so we usually select a lot of local vendors, pin-ups and fashion designers. We go through the community first and then we go out of the community to other states or regions,” Arellano said. “We want people to see what Colorado has to offer.”

Tattoos have become more common with people of all ages, races, backgrounds and careers getting tattoos.  (Photo credit Simona Piolla)
Tattoos have become more common with people of all ages, races, backgrounds and careers getting tattoos. (Photo credit Simona Piolla)

Attendees will also get to see artists compete in different styles of tattoo contests.

Some of the competitions that will be featured at the tattoo convention include:

  • Best pop culture tattoo
  • Best Horror Tattoo
  • Best black and gray sleeve
  • The best of the day
  • Best New School Tattoo
  • Best water color
  • Best Mandala Tattoo
  • Best Neo Traditional Tattoo

If people are looking to get inked, they will have the opportunity to do so at the convention.

“We recommend people go on day one and look around and talk to the different artists and get a feel for the artists,” Ramirez said. “And if you see an artist you like and want to get a tattoo, if it’s reasonable and he has the time, he’ll definitely tattoo you at the convention.

“If it’s something really complex, they’ll let you know and you can make an appointment with them.”

Some of the tattoo shops that will be at the convention showcasing their portfolios and doing live tattoos include Ohana Ink from Wyoming, Red Letter Tattoo from Loveland, Rebel Muse Tattoo from Denver, and Metamorphosis Tattoo from Lyon.

The NoCo Tattoo Convention brings together tattoo fans and artists of all ages to celebrate and recognize the art of tattooing during a three-day event at the Ranch Events Complex.  (Photo credit David Prado)
The NoCo Tattoo Convention brings together tattoo fans and artists of all ages to celebrate and recognize the art of tattooing during a three-day event at the Ranch Events Complex. (Photo credit David Prado)

La Salle Tattoo Shop, 85 South Tattoo and owner Jay Bunner, is one of the sponsors of the tattoo convention. Bunner and his partner, Ax, and apprentice Shayne will be on hand to do live tattooing, compete in competitions, and give away body piercing for those who want to get some new gear.

“I’ve been to conventions before and I hated dragging all my stuff around, tattooing the public with their backs to them, if I didn’t have something I was out of luck because I’m not in my shop. I Might as well avoid the hassle and stay in my shop for that day,” Bunner said. “So when Hilda asked me if I wanted a stall, I thought, ‘I think I’d rather go up and participate.’ And that’s when she offered the opportunity to sponsor.

Bunner will be entering a large leg piece, featuring a brightly colored Japanese-inspired dragon he’s been working on for the past few weeks in one of the convention’s competitions.

“I want to go out there and come back and fill my trophy case,” Bunner said. “And next year I will be known as an award-winning store.”

Whether it's a tribute to Bernie Sanders or something else, every tattoo has a story.  (file photo from the Greeley Tribune)
Whether it’s a tribute to Bernie Sanders or something else, every tattoo has a story. (file photo from the Greeley Tribune)

Another goal of the convention is for attendees to “come hang out” rather than just cross a leave, Arellano said.

“We want them to be there and part of everything we have to offer,” she said.

In addition to tattoo artists and body modification specialists, the convention will feature a pin-up contest, charity car show, sideshow, art exhibit and more.

The tattoo convention is open to all ages and is family friendly. Pets are not permitted in or on The Ranch event complex or inside the buildings.

The Ranch Events Complex prohibits outside alcohol, food or drink, weapons of any kind, tablets or computers, video cameras or recording devices as well as many other items. To see the full list of prohibited items, go to https://bit.ly/3FScjIh.

The resort also has a clear bag policy and attendees can bring a large clear bag – either a one-gallon Ziploc-style bag or a 12-inch by 6-inch by 12-inch clear bag – and a small pouch that does not is no larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches. All bags are subject to search.


If you are going to:

What: NoCo Tattoo Convention

When: noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. Sunday

Or: The Ranch Event Complex, 5280 Arena Circle, Loveland

Cost: Day passes are $15 per person 11 and older, weekend passes are $25 per person 11 and older, children 10 and under are free, and seniors fighters with a military ID card will receive free entry.

Car park: The Ranch Events Complex offers free parking

For more information, visit www.coloradotattooconvention.com

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