Andy Sanchez, Jr. predicts the Denver Broncos will defeat the Seattle Seahawks 42-28 in Super Bowl XLVIII.
“The keys to the game for the Broncos is first downs, no penalties and score, score, score,” he said, donning a Peyton Manning jersey.
To show his team spirit, forever, Sanchez was tattooed on his left forearm with the Denver Broncos logo on Tuesday. He received the permanent five-color memorial from artist and nephew Robert Smith, who has owned and operated the Slangin’ Ink Tattoo Parlor on Main Street in downtown Cortez since 2005.
“I’ll still be a Bronco fan,” said Sanchez, whether Denver wins or losses.
Minutes after sitting in the chair, Sanchez said he loves that tattoos allow him to express his individuality.
The worst part of modifying his body with indelible ink was the sheer anticipation.
Even with five previous tattoos, knowing that needles were about to puncture his skin was dreadful, he said.
“Oh boy,” he sighed as the coil electric tattoo machine started buzzing. “I said I wasn’t going to get another one.”
“Are you ready?” Smith asked, grasping Sanchez’ arm to stabilize the living canvas.
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” he replied.
With black plastic gloves, Smith started by applying blue ink to a stenciled outline of the logo.
A few minutes into the 45-minute process, Sanchez grimaced, then exhaled.
“You OK?” Smith inquired.
On a lunch break, his father, Andy Sanchez, Sr., stuck his head into the tattoo parlor.
“I came over to see if he was going to cry,” Dad said with a chuckle.
The family has been longtime Denver fans, the elder Sanchez said. Like his son, Sanchez Sr., too, predicted a Broncos Super Bowl victory.
“Dang,” interrupted Sanchez, Jr., in obvious pain. “That’s the spot.”
Hunched over, diligently focused, Smith leaned up to briefly pause from his creative endeavor. Sanchez again sighed deeply.
“It will all be worth it when it’s done,” he added, taking a smart phone photo of the work in progress.
After receiving his first tattoo equipment from a relative, Smith said he taught himself how to insert ink into the dermis layer of the skin.
It was a struggle, he admitted.
“Growing up here in Cortez, there weren’t any tattoo artist in town to apprentice under,” he explained. “I even tattooed my legs a couple of times just to practice.”
Covered with tattooed arm sleeves today, Smith said he picked up techniques over the years from those artists who tattooed him.
Since opening his own parlor, Smith said he’s been able to build a loyal customer base, a base that developed, because he cares, Smith said.
When advising his customers, Smith first reminds people that tattoos last forever, and second; he attempts to ensure the design is something the customer really wants. Smith also warns strongly about placement, especially when customers request neck or face tattoos.
“I try to steer customers away from making regrettable choices,” he said.
A half-hour into the tattoo process, Smith was incorporating the colors of the Colorado state into the Broncos logo. For Sanchez, endorphins had taken over helping to alleviate his earlier pain and stress.
“It’s not as bad as I thought it would be,” he said. “The numbness is going away.”
“I’m going to take a nap,” he added, readjusting in the chair.
About 10 minutes later, Smith had completed the tattoo.
“That’s it,” he said, wiping away excess ink. “Your fix is over.”
“Damn,” exclaimed Sanchez, examining the fresh tattoo. “I like it a lot.”
To ensure the tattoo heals properly, Smith advised Sanchez to keep the tattoo clean with soap and water.
He also instructed his uncle to keep the tattoo, like any other minor abrasion, bandaged to protect it against infection.
Sanchez beamed and applauded his nephew’s tattoo skills.
And come Sunday, the tattoo should be nearly healed, just in time to celebrate with the Broncos.
“I want to come back and get the Super Bowl trophy tattooed next,” Smith said.