Sturgis leaves its mark on one man – and for a good reason

Between the rides, concerts, and other events, there's a special place where rally-goers can commemorate their time - permanently.
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Michael Anderson gets his first tattoo from WI artist, Beth Singer

MEADE COUNTY, S.D. — Michael Anderson from Oregon is leaving the 2022 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with a very special gift for his wife, Joyce.

“The one I picked is a pinup girl of my wife, and she doesn’t know it,” Anderson said, pointing to a nearly finished tattoo on his upper-right arm. “It’s a bit of a surprise.”

Anderson got his wife of more than 40 years immortalized forever. It’s his first tattoo, and something he’s thought about getting for years.

“Well, it’s kind of a special event,” Anderson said. “[It’s] something I’ve thought about for a long time.”

Joyce is back home in Salem. Anderson says she came along last year, but decided to stay home this year. He’s excited to show her the piece.

“She’s been my wing man, she’s been my right arm person, and that’s the side she sleeps on,” Anderson said. “And every night…every morning she gets up, that’s what she’s going to see.”

“I feel so honored that I get to create art that people literally carry with them to their grave,” said tattoo artist Beth Singer from Janesville, Wisconsin. “I mean, how many things do we carry with us to our graves? Hardly any, right?”

Singer has been tattooing in Wisconsin for the last six years.

“I actually kind of fell into it through a friend,” Singer said. “I was on really hard times in my life, and she just kind of gave me the opportunity to tattoo. It gave me a way out of a really bad situation and gave me a career and a life that I could provide for my kids. So tattooing, I guess, kind of saved me in a way.”

She came last year and worked as an apprentice, but this year is her first time being on her own.

“Everybody here is super nice. You see all different kinds of things,” Singer said. “Everybody’s wild [and] having a good time.”

Her passion is evident as you watch her work. She even sings, and entertained Anderson as he sat three hours for his new ink.

“It means the whole world,” Singer said. “What we get to do, we get to take people on their best days and worst days and create memorials and and pieces that they carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

Forty years together – truly incredible – so I asked Anderson how they do it.

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Michael Anderson’s tattoo is a pin-up-girl-style tribute to his wife, Joyce. They live in Salem, OR and have been married for more than 40 years.

“I don’t know that there’s a real secret to it,” Anderson said. “I think you just…you meet somebody and it just works. You’re a team, you know?”

Anderson and Singer exemplify the bond that artists have with their clients.

“It’s a great experience, I tell you. There couldn’t be any artist better that I could’ve chosen,” Anderson said.

If you’re looking to get inked, Beth and the other seven artists will be at the Buffalo Chip all week. Click here for more information.

Categories: ConnectCenter1-Culture and Art, Local News, South Dakota News, Sturgis Rally