Photography by Many Pandya
Sunday completed an 11 city tour across the United States where each major metropolitan area
drew local and regional custom bike builders. After four months the motorcycle circus finally came to an end with Carl Pusser of Walkin Tall Cycles taking the National Championship crown.
Over the 3-day show, Pusser kept jonesing for the Speakeasy Original ring with the words “Made in America” that covers three fingers. At 4:20 on Sunday he was up on stage with a new Danny Gray seat, ring and a big check for $2,000.
Winter Storm Neptune brought a swath of snow, high winds and dangerously cold temperatures from the Midwest to the Northeast on Valentine’s weekend. Along with the snow, 60 sizzling hot motorcycles lined up at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show and competed at the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show.
Record crowds braved the cold and icy conditions and descended on the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center outside of Chicago O’Hare International Airport to view the custom bikes and the latest motorcycle releases from the major motorcycle manufacturers.
The J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show is known for diversity. And this season-ending National Championship delivered big-wheel baggers, custom Triumphs, old school choppers, techno scramblers and a custom vintage scout. Enthusiasts were treated to a cornucopia of sights and sounds.
On Sunday at 4PM the builders congregated at the Progressive School of Rock stage for the Custom Bike Show Awards hosted by Pat Jansen and Jeff Najar. The first award handed out was the Show Dog Award. It’s provided to the builder that engages with enthusiasts and works the hardest to further their custom bike business. There were many contenders but Dave Dupor of DD Customs won the award for his efforts and he took home The Leatherworks Inc. solo bag.
The People’s Choice award went to Bryant Levant for his vintage 1971 Volkswagen trike. It’s reminiscent of a cross between Herbie and an Ed “Big Daddy” Roth build. Levant left the Chicago competition with a Special Ops vest from 5 Ball Racing Leathers and a Custom 500 lid from Bell Helmets.
Speakeasy Original awards the Anvil ring to the FreeStyle winner. Speakeasy specializes in custom handcrafted jewelry made right here in the good ‘ol USA.
J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Winner: FreeStyle Class – Carl Pusser is our 2015 US National Champion!
Carl Pusser owner, fabricator, designer and engine builder of Walkin Tall Cycles took home a check for $2,000, a Speakeasy Original’s Anvil Ring and a Danny Gray seat for his green and silver 1971 Triumph. The Speedway-styled motorcycle features two-tone green and silver paint by Derrek Johnson, polished 650cc Triumph mil, hand fabricated frame, split tanks, pipes and handlebars. The bike looks like a rocket ready to blast down the highway. In addition, the 300 series rear tire adds a visual appeal.
- Carl Pusser, Walkin Tall Cycles – 1971 Custom Triumph
- Dave Dupor, DD Customs – ZR-1, 2013 H-D Road Glide
J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Winner: MOD Custom Class
Tony Odom, owner of Fancy Cycle, has been customizing sport bikes since 1993. He rolled in his big 2003 Suzuki Hayabusa with his little friends, two predatory arthropods. The Scorpion Bike houses two scorpions in a plexiglass case above the swing arm. The bike features an extended swing arm, 360 rear tire, custom paint, custom wheels and custom controls. The bike is big and bad but his little friends stole the show.
- Tony Odom, Fancy Cycles – Scorpion Bike, 20013 Hayabusa
- Wilfredo Garcia – Guess Who, 2016 H-D Street Glide
J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder: Retro MOD Winner
Bobby Middleton won the big $1,000 check for his 1954 Harley-Davidson Panhead chopper. The mil was mated to a modified 1934 H-D VL frame. The bike features narrowed springer, one-off controls, exhaust, handlebars and sissy bar. The midnight black paint almost looks wet and was applied by Max Schaaf/Kendall.
- Bobby Middleton – 1954 Harley-Davidson Panhead
- Allan Knapp – Lucky, 1972 Yamaha XS 650
Throughout the weekend builders were interviewed on the Progressive stage and on the red carpet next to their custom sleds. Interviews are located at custombikeshows.com and on the Ultimate Builder Facebook page.
1 Minute @ J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show
The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows rolls into 11 cities across the nation. The nationwide motorcycle extravaganza has something for every Powersports lifestyle and fan. Besides the nation’s largest custom bike show series, it’s the best place to experience the latest in gear, aftermarket parts and accessories. You can see the all-new models from major manufacturers and enjoy rider seminars at the main stage and much, much more. The J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show is produced by BikerPros.com.