Ed Bruns stood in front of a crowd taking applause after four hours and 27 minutes of almost constant poking with needles on Sunday evening.
As a total of 1,501 needles shimmered with the light of camera flashes, Bruns’ legs began to quake, and the shock began.
It was the shock of being a new Guinness World Record holder with 304 more piercings than the previous attempt.
It was the shock of actually doing something that dozens of people called him crazy for even trying.
And it was a little physical shock from the year-supply of 16-gauge piercing needles still stuck in his arms, back and legs.
Despite some shock, Bruns made the attempt look easy. He never complained and only blinked hard a few times when the piercing artist put needles through the tender skin on the back of his knees.
“It was a little tender down the sides and down the spine,” Bruns said. “I thought as soon as we got started, ‘It’s all over.'”
When piercing artist “Freehand” Robert Benson put needle No. 1,198 – the one that broke the previous record – into the back of Bruns’ left leg, his daughter Kailyn Porter rubbed her dad’s arm and whispered to him. It looked as though she was comforting him, but in reality, he was comforting the 10-year-old by telling her that it didn’t really hurt.
Kailyn says she is proud of her dad and even wants to take him to show-and-tell at her school.
“I knew that he would do it, but I was kind of scared,” Kailyn said. “I’m really proud of him.”
The piercing began in the large, open studio at Pain for Sale tattoo and piercing at 2:30 p.m. Sunday with more than a hundred people packed into the front of the building to watch. They stood on tiptoes and leaned around corners to catch a glimpse of the zipper-like rows of 50 needles lining Bruns’ back that would make history a few hours later.
“Does he get paid for doing this?” a gruff biker asked loudly from the corner of the room.
“Nope,” another told him.
The biker was shocked into silence knowing that someone was enduring hours of pain for nothing more than a mention in a record book and some high-fives.
Rose Ward sat nearby the commotion crocheting dishcloths and watching the spectacle. Ward and another notary public were required to be on hand through the entire event to witness and notarize the documentation for the official record.
“I never thought I would ever need to notarize something like this,” Ward said as she finished her fourth cloth.
The record will be entered into the books when Guinness receives the video and documentation of Bruns’ record.
Benson knew Bruns was tough, but has his doubts about his ability to endure such a punishing session. Although the needles are removed after the attempt, the pain from the piercing often sends people into shock, stopping the record attempt.
“Ed’s a freak. I thought he would’ve whined or something,” Benson said. “If we would have let him, he would have slept.”
While Bruns took congratulations from friends, one told him that he should take one more needle to make the record 1,502.
“If you want 1,502, you can break the record,” Bruns said with a weak laugh.
A few minutes later a group of tattoo and piercing artists began the task of removing 1,500 of the piercings from his body.
Bruns will keep the last one, No. 1,501, on the back of his head with a small barbell through it.