“The Godfather of Freestyle Motocross” will bring his famous name and his love of body art to Lake Elsinore.
Tuesday night, the Lake Elsinore Planning Commission unanimously approved a request by American Freestyle Motocross champ Mike Metzger to operate a tattoo business inside a 1,800-square-foot leased space in Westlake Village Commercial Center at 31712 Casino Drive.
Without reservation, the commission approved a conditional use permit for the business, which Metzger plans to call Mob Syndicate Tattoo after his motocross moniker.
The shop, which Metzger hopes to open within two months, will offer tattoos and body piercings, as well as the FMX star’s mixed-media paintings.
Metzger’s name is legendary. He is an international celebrity in his sport, having headlined at top events like the X-Games and doing media-grabbing Evel Knievel-like stunts such as setting a Guinness World Record in 2006 with a 125-foot jump that included a back flip over a fountain at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. He’s also made many television appearances and is featured in a video game.
At 36, Metzger said he still rides but the thrill isn’t what it was.
“I come back from a ride and it’s not the same,” he said.
During Tuesday night’s meeting, Metzger explained that he has been tattooing for 18 years, and has been painting since childhood. His family moved to the area when he was young, and he now resides in Canyon Lake, he said.
Metzger explained that he looked at possible locations in Murrieta and Temecula for his business, but felt Lake Elsinore -- with its Dream Extreme motto that promotes action sports -- was the ideal spot.
He said the December opening of the Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park also appealed to him.
“I love Lake Elsinore,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a better place for this business.”
During the meeting, commissioner Rick Morsch said he had spoken to tenants at the Westlake Village Commercial Center, which includes, among other businesses, Don Jose Mexican Restaurant and Lotions & Lace adult store.
“They are all very supportive,” Morsch said, noting that the center’s landlord was excited about the possibility of bringing in the famous tenant.
A father of five, Metzger said the tattoo business is a lucrative post-FMX opportunity, and he explained that the timing is right: In 2010, Metzger experienced two near-death crashes that left him hospitalized in ICU for weeks.
“I smashed myself really badly,” he said.
He’s also lost some famous friends to riding. In 2009, fellow motocross freestyler Jeremy Lusk died days following a crash, and last November rider Jim McNeil was also killed in a crash.
Metzger lives on as a FMX legend, but he said he’s looking ahead to Mob Syndicate Tattoo.
“I’m ready to go.”