Sonoma tattoo artist Shotsie Gorman and his wife, Kristine, decided to get a little political for their third annual Ugly Tattoo Contest, where some 15 people competed Sunday for the rare honor of having certifiably bad body art.

As in past iterations of the event, contestants were judged by a panel of tattoo artists who awarded cash for cover-up work to a few winners. But this year’s contest at B&V Whiskey Bar & Grille in Sonoma served another timely purpose: Funds from a raffle went to support Planned Parenthood Northern California, as the national organization faces the threat of losing its federal funding under plans from congressional lawmakers. The Gormans, who co-own the Tarot Art & Tattoo Gallery on Sonoma Highway, have organized events for Planned Parenthood before, and felt compelled by current events to do something for the organization at this year’s contest.

“Because of the political climate and the potential for the Republicans to completely flatten funding for Planned Parenthood, we thought we’d turn it over to them,” Shotsie Gorman said.

“They’ve helped so many people that I know in my life, and they have a history of helping women with health care issues who can’t afford normal health care.”

The free event was attended by more than 100 people, and funds from the $5 raffle tickets raised $370, according to Planned Parenthood philanthropy officer Adel Olvera. The raffle prizes were worth more than $2,500, Kristine Gorman said.

Sunday’s tattoo event joins a long list of similar efforts to support Planned Parenthood in Northern California: Since the inauguration, more than 60 individuals or businesses have either held a fundraiser for the organization or are planning to host one soon, Olvera said.

“Kristine and Shotsie are just a wonderful example of the families, individuals and business owners standing up for Planned Parenthood,’” Olvera said.

In the contest, Sonoma resident Laura Hinerfeld took home first and third place for two separate tattoos.

Hinerfeld declined to describe the details or location of her tattoo that won the top prize, saying only that it was easily covered with clothing and was based on something she drew on a napkin once many years ago.

The tattoo for which Hinerfeld won third place, however, was a black design wrapping around her upper right arm that was meant to be a lily pad and a koi that appears essentially indiscernible in reality.

“No one could ever see it,” Hinerfeld said of the koi part of her tattoo.

“Everyone would look at it and say ‘Is that a dead cat?’ It never really panned out.”

Contestants were judged by Donavan Kinyon of the Golden Owl Tattoo & Gallery in Napa; Scott Sprouse of Wild Bill’s Tattoo in Roseville and Royal Six Tattoo in Placerville; and Adam Lunoe from Imperial Tattoo in Portland, Oregon.

The judges assigned scores to tattoos in categories such as quality, line work and “level of horrific overall.”

You can reach Staff Writer J.D. Morris at 707-521-5337 or

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