PHOTO GALLERY | Contests highlight top tattoos, bikes at Thunder in the Valley – TribDem.com

Posted in Tattooing on Jun 29, 2021

There were untold millions of dollars of motorcycles in downtown Johnstown this weekend and untold gallons of ink tattooed to the skins of their riders.

Contests on Saturday at Peoples Natural Gas Park highlighted some of the most notable bikes and tattoos.

Best of Show for the motorcycle contest went to Mark Kush, of Johnstown, and his 1947 Harley-Davidson.

Its nice to know people appreciate old stuff, Kush said.

The Grand Thunder parade rolls down Roosevelt Blvd. in Johnstown, PA., during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally, Saturday, June 26, 2021.

The Grand Thunder Parade rolls down Main Street in Johnstown, PA., during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally, Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Bastard Bearded Irishmen perform at the gazebo in Central Park during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Mooch Baldauf of Tyrone, PA., and Jovanna Dively of Hollidaysburg, PA., shop at the Biker Mall during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Jacqueline Anderson of Richland cooks for Baileys Concessions during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Shawn Leger of Countrys Tattoo Saloon shows Cecilia Rose of New Castle,PA., a cell phone photo of a design before starting her first tattoo, at PNG Park during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Tony Callery of central FLA., top left, gets a tattoo from Ron Bradshaw, while Cecilia Rose of New Castle, PA., gets her first tattoo from Shawn Leger at Countrys Tattoo Saloon in PNG Park during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Jim Alderson of the Pittsburgh Area Artists Blacksmith Association, provides a demonstration at the Train Station during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Melissa Richards of Monroeville, PA., left, encourages the crowd to vote for her during a tattoo contest hosted by emcee Jack Schit at PNG Park during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Mark Kush of Johnstown, PA., is shown with his 1947 Harley Davidson WL, which won Best of Show at a motorcycle contest at PNG Park during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

The Grand Thunder parade rolls down Roosevelt Blvd. in Johnstown, PA., during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally, Saturday, June 26, 2021.

The Grand Thunder Parade rolls down Main Street in Johnstown, PA., during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally, Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Bastard Bearded Irishmen perform at the gazebo in Central Park during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Mooch Baldauf of Tyrone, PA., and Jovanna Dively of Hollidaysburg, PA., shop at the Biker Mall during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Jacqueline Anderson of Richland cooks for Baileys Concessions during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Shawn Leger of Countrys Tattoo Saloon shows Cecilia Rose of New Castle,PA., a cell phone photo of a design before starting her first tattoo, at PNG Park during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Tony Callery of central FLA., top left, gets a tattoo from Ron Bradshaw, while Cecilia Rose of New Castle, PA., gets her first tattoo from Shawn Leger at Countrys Tattoo Saloon in PNG Park during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Jim Alderson of the Pittsburgh Area Artists Blacksmith Association, provides a demonstration at the Train Station during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Melissa Richards of Monroeville, PA., left, encourages the crowd to vote for her during a tattoo contest hosted by emcee Jack Schit at PNG Park during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Mark Kush of Johnstown, PA., is shown with his 1947 Harley Davidson WL, which won Best of Show at a motorcycle contest at PNG Park during the annual Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally in Johnstown, PA., Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Kush competed with 17 others, including Ken Obvenovich, of Ohio, who put on a show by shooting flames from his bikes tailpipes.

The array of mostly customized motorcycles in the contest was parked near the entrance of one of downtown Johnstowns bars, which was highly trafficked all day as the sun added some sunburn to many of the tattoos judged Saturday.

The tattoo contest, judged by the noise made by the couple hundred spectators, came down to two U.S. military veterans.

Runner-up Melissa Richards, of Monroeville, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

But the winner of the contest was Duke Griffin, a U.S. Army veteran from Duncansville and member of the U.S. Veterans Motorcycle Club.

His tattoo was a simple outline of Pennsylvania and the number 22 on his right forearm to signify the 22 veterans who commit suicide each day in the United States, according to statistics from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

After the contest, Griffin said he served eight years as an Army medic.

Our club, the U.S. Veterans Motorcycle club, is about reducing the number of veteran suicides by promoting brotherhood and resources for veterans to get help, he said.

While the trophy for his tattoo was nice, he said, the real victory would be when veteran suicides ended.

It needs to end, he said. We need to let veterans know there is more than what they think is out there for them.

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Russ O'Reilly is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @RussellOReilly.

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PHOTO GALLERY | Contests highlight top tattoos, bikes at Thunder in the Valley - TribDem.com

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