JACKSON, MI — Anyone who argues Ed Thayer's claim to the nickname "Steampunk Eddie" will have to take it up with the Jackson artist and 100,000 of his newest friends.
Thayer was named the winner of the first season of the Game Show Network's "Steampunk'd" show, and that's not all. The Jackson area artist known by many for his work at the Grand River Brewery will take home $100,000 for his efforts.
Steampunk Eddie beat out counterparts "JW" and "Miss Morgan" on the season finale Wednesday, Oct. 14. Thayer watched the finale at a special free showing in front of a large raucous crowd of supporters at the Michigan Theatre, 124 N. Mechanic St.
The crowd erupted at any sighting of Thayer during the hour-long show, while vehemently jeering JW.
"Jackson, I love you," Steampunk Eddie announced to the crowd shortly after he was announced the winner. "I was out in California for five weeks with no Internet or phone missing my family, friends and home.
"I went there to kick ***, to rep my family, friends and Jackson ... and I did it."
On the show, a contestant, or "maker," was eliminated each week from the original field of 10. The self-proclaimed gearhead said he loves taking other people's trash and turning it into steampunk treasure.
The finale's challenge forced the trio to make a steampunk family room with the judges carefully examining creativity, functionality and making sure the artist's personality is represented.
"Being on this show pushed me to do great stuff," Thayer said before the show. "Thank you, Jackson. Win or lose, I feel like a winner already."
Steampunk Eddie transformed his blank slate into a "Classy Clock Maker's" room during the three days. The judges said his room was dripping with Eddie's personality and steampunk.
"Eddie put his heart into this room," said 'Steampunk'd' judge Thomas Willeford during the show. "This screams Eddie to me."
Once the Jackson native was announced as the winner, Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer" blared from the speakers in the historic theater as Thayer was embraced by friends, family and supporters.
A number of guests came dressed to the nines in steampunk attire or customized shirts pledging their allegiance to the area artist.
Still unsure what all this steampunk talk is about? Imagine an alternate universe where the steam engine caught on rather than internal combustion. Still confused? Think Will Smith's 1999 film "Wild Wild West," it's Victorian culture with a sprinkle of Mad Max and a dash of science fiction.