Big Time in Big Sky Country

Big Time in Big Sky Country

It’s 2:30pm on a Friday afternoon and there is a man with his pants around his ankles standing next to me in a Montana bar. The man’s name is Phil and he is neither intoxicated nor been declared legally insane. Phil is simply making good on the most spectacularly twisted Super Bowl bet that I have ever come to know.

With a whiskey in my right hand and a suddenly renewed faith in human ingenuity in my left, I stare in both horror and amazement at the large tattoo covering the front of Phil’s left thigh. The image is hauntingly beautiful. A pink and purple My Little Pony resides on the east side of a rainbow highway, while the west is occupied by a centaur in the form of Patrick Swayze’s Chippendales character from the legendary Saturday Night Live skit he performed with Chris Farley.

As far as I know, Phil isn’t the founding member of the My Little Pony or Patrick Swayze fan clubs. But that doesn’t matter. The tattoo is the result of a lost Super Bowl bet, one in a series of wagers between Phil and a former University of Montana football player named Lando that dates back to the Indianapolis-Chicago tilt from 2007. The terms of the proposition are disturbingly simple: The loser is required to select and tattoo an “unmanly” image upon his body. This is a straight-up wager that doesn’t implement the point spread, with the previous year’s loser getting first pick of teams in the following year’s game.

There’s just one catch: Both Phil and Lando (whose right thigh bears the image of My Little Pony being ridden by a leprechaun wielding a sex toy) have to drop trout and display their tattoos whenever asked—save for church and when accompanied by family members, most likely to spare them the abhorrence of acknowledging their offspring’s demented capabilities.

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