You won’t meet a more crazed group of Broncos fans than the guys at Love n Hate Elite Tattoo Studio in Denver. In fact, they are even closed on NFL Sundays, to make sure that everyone is home watching the game.
So when 22-year-old tattoo artist Josh Lucern heard his coworkers bashing on Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, he had to speak up. Even though everyone at the shop is a born and raised Broncos fan, Lucern is the only one who believes Tebow can win at the professional level.
One of Love n Hate’s regulars, Juan Contreras, 26, loves to poke fun at Lucern about Tebow. What started as an innocent joke grew into a bet with some pretty high stakes.
“If Tebow doesn’t win five games [over the 2011 season] then he gets to tattoo me ‘Te-[expletive]’ but if I win he has to get a tattoo that says ‘Tebow Time,'" Lucern said in a phone interview Wednesday night.
That bet is extra-risky when considering that Contreras has no previous tattooing experience.
As Tebow started to rack up miraculous fourth quarter wins, Contreras began to get nervous. But Tebow won and won and won.
Initially, Contreras assumed that Lucern would tattoo on him a small watch inscribed “Tebow Time,” but when it was time to make a decision, Contreras said, “I’m not going to like it either way, might as well make it funny.” And funny it is; even Contreras’s wife and mother think it’s hilarious.
Lucern had previously drawn out plenty of Tebow sketches before (he even has a Broncos logo tattooed on his left calf), but when designing a tattoo for Contreras, he wanted to create “the most ridiculous thing possible to punish him for doubting Tebow.”
Oddly enough, that inspiration came from the centaur on the Old Spice commercial. The original design was going to have a horse’s leg mounted onto Tebow’s body but Lucern felt the half-horse, half-man depiction was even better. The tattoo, about 4 inches in diameter, is on the outside of Contreras’s left thigh. There is no head inside the helmet due to the scaling of the drawing. Though Lucern is usually meticulous with his inking, he intentionally made this tattoo look cartoonish to mock Contreras.
The reactions have been mixed. “Everyone thinks I’m this Tebow maniac but I really don’t like him," Contreras said. "I don’t think he should be an NFL quarterback.”
For a man who already has several tattoos, one more as a joke is nothing to worry about.
“Everyone has a different perspective on tattoos but it’s a piece of skin," Contereras said. "It’s not on my face and I don’t think I’ll ever regret it but if I do, my buddy does great cover-up work.”
Meredith Kenyon, a student at St. John's University, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She can also be found on Twitter @MerKenyon.