By 6 a.m. Thursday, there was a growing crowd of people outside of Iron Brush Tattoo in downtown Lincoln. People stood in line for hours for the chance to get a free Husker-themed tattoo.
Kyren Kunz took the day off of work and was in line by 9 a.m., after his wife OK’d the idea.
“I’ve been wanting a Husker tattoo for a while,” said Kunz, of Lincoln. “And what’s better than a free one?”
He chose a black tattoo that said “Huskers.” The tattoo is on his right forearm so he can show it to people easily.
Iron Brush Tattoo advertised the event one day in advance on social media. The shop knew that it would draw a crowd but was surprised by the turnout.
Some people came from in town, others from Omaha and Alliance in hopes for free ink.
More than 160 people signed up to get a tattoo, but only 81 were lucky enough to get one.
“Husker fans are some of the best fans in college football,” Chris Jonak, the shop manager, said. “And they know Iron Brush is one of the best shops in town. They definitely wanted to come here for their tattoo.”
Some artists stayed late to serve extra people.
Robyn Burnison, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student, went to Iron Brush after finishing a test at 11:30 a.m. and was No. 59 on the list.
“I’m a really big Husker fan,” Burnison said. “And I’ve wanted another tattoo.”
Burnison had a difficult time choosing between two tattoos. One she thought was more unique, with bold colors and a flower design, whereas the other had more personal significance.
She chose a tattoo with an outline of the state of Nebraska and a red heart on Lincoln. Burnison said she chose it because the heart is close to Lincoln and Louisville, her hometown.
“I still may get (the other tattoo) one of these days,” Burnison said. “Now that they’ll have the designs up at the shop.”
There were over 60 special tattoos to choose from, and they will be available to regular clientele at a later date, tattoo artist Ann Loaris said. Iron Brush artists designed the tattoos.
Each tattoo, valued between $120 and $250, took 45 minutes to two hours to complete.
Loaris said the tattoos were inspired by the quotes “red burns brighter” and “day by day,” both team slogans for the season. All of the tattoos featured traditional American design, which is what Iron Brush specializes in.
There were tattoos in black script, and others had bright red, green and yellow. Some had imagery like footballs, corn and the letter “N.” Others had iconic tattoo motifs like skulls, flowers and wings.
“It’s a big thank-you to all the loyal fans of Nebraska football,” Loaris said.