Weeknights at nearly 11 p.m. are not typically busy times for tattoo parlors.


Weeknights at nearly 11 p.m. are not typically busy times for tattoo parlors.

But on Tuesday, Infamous Tattoo on West Main Street was packed with people glued to multiple flat screen TVs, anxiously anticipating the announcement everyone hoped to hear from the judges on the season finale of Spike’s “Ink Master.” And they did.

Judges on the pre-recorded episode announced Infamous Tattoo owner Shane O’Neill had become the show’s first ever Ink Master – winning a grand prize of $100,000.

The crowd – comprised of O’Neill’s family, friends, employees and locals – immediately erupted with cheers and applause, as his friends embraced him with hugs.

“I couldn’t wait for my friends and family to know the truth,” said O’Neill, 40, who was informed he had won the competition after filming stopped in August, but signed waivers stating he would not discuss the results until the finale airs. “It really makes me happy to make everybody proud. My friends and family have had so much faith in me over the years.”

Looking back, now that the cat is out of the bag, O’Neill admitted he was a bit nervous entering the competition.

“I was a little nervous only because I’ve seen reality competition shows and know that not all of the time the best person wins,” he said. “It could be like whacked out challenges that were created by [producers] to make the public seem interested.”

As for his plans with the reward money, O’Neill said he is in no rush to spend it since he initially intended to “bank it to save for something later on.”

In two weeks, he’ll move forward with his next major endeavor at the Ink Masters Tatt2 Show in California, where he – and friends that he partnered with – will debut a new line of top-shelf tattoo products called: System One Tattoo Products.

In the meantime O’Neill maintains he will not let fame get the best of him.

“I remember at the end of the show – someone [was] interviewing me, [who was] part of production, and saying like, ‘please don’t let this go to your head, I’ve seen this so many times,’” O’Neill said. “And I just don’t see that happening, honestly. Honestly I just want to continue the way my life is and know this is a notch on my belt that I’ve accomplished and I made my kids happy and my wife. I understand how people get carried away, and stuff like that, with thinking they did something special. But I mean, I did accomplish something, but I didn’t save the world or anything like that.”