Pup Closson’s 2009 Street Glide wasn’t always a bloodstained demon. Once upon a time, it wore stock paint instead. Back when it was innocent, before he corrupted it.
The two almost met by chance. Or, more accurately, impulse. Back in ’09, Pup had a perfectly good 2000 Road King all ready to go for the big ride to Sturgis. He’d even installed 16-inch apes on it just for the occasion. Those bars turned out to be more than handholds, though. They were the twist of fate that led Pup to this Street Glide.
After the install, Pup Closson headed over to his buddy Steve Bundy’s home for a brew-and-show of the new apes. Once the beers were open, Steve smiled at the Road King.
“I’m not riding next to you with those big-ass bars. You’ll get us pulled over.”
That’s not exactly the response you hope for when showing off a bike, now is it? Pup wasn’t going to change them; time was short and he liked the bars. He also liked Street Glides, and he turned this into the excuse he needed to buy one right away. He purchased this one the day before he and Steve headed out to the Black Hills. A call to Pup’s friend, Mike Peterson at Dubuque Harley-Davidson, led to a deal for the new bagger the day before the ride. “I will not forget the look on Bundy’s face! Priceless!” Pup says. “My wife, Shannon, and I rode out to Sturgis and back that year.”
Almost a year went by and with the 2010 Sturgis rally quickly approaching, Pup decided his bagger needed something so it wouldn’t get lost in a crowd. After talking with several bike builders and countless hours trying to decide what he wanted, he came across an issue of Baggers with a bike on the cover he couldn’t forget. It was “Paradigm,” the world’s first 30-inch front-wheel bagger. That was all she wrote for Pup. He made the call to Ballistic Cycles in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin, and challenged them to reinvent his stocker as a bad-ass custom job.
Transforming a stock Harley bagger isn’t new ground for Ballistic, though. Hard work? Sure. Meticulous? Of course. The shop just needed enough time.
Which is where the challenge part came in. Pup needed his rig finished in less than two months if he was going to ride it to the 70th Sturgis rally. Ballistic accepted the challenge and with one day to spare, Closson’s bike was ready for the trip. The 24kt gold paint was practically wet when he and Shannon mounted up for the 750-mile run from Cedar Falls, Iowa, to Sturgis, South Dakota. He didn’t exactly coddle his customized Street Glide on the trip, either. “Our campsite at Moonies Hog Farm in Piedmont is on a gravel road, so everyday before we ride we have to wash the bike. No trailer queen here,” Pup says. Later in the week he entered Paul Yaffe’s first annual “Baddest Bagger in Sturgis” at the Full Throttle Saloon and won “Best of Show” with top honors as the “Baddest Bagger in Sturgis.” Surrounded by his beautiful wife and his buddies from Buzz’s bar, Pup Closson celebrated with PBRs for everyone.
After a long winter and too much time to think, Pup’s head was in a different place. He decided the 24kt gold had to go. This time, though, he searched for a painter on the stalker’s best friend: Facebook. His status read, “Wanted: Bad Ass Painter and Kick Ass Airbrusher.” That’s not the usual type of ass people look for in social media, but it worked. It didn’t take long before Dana Hallberg at Deadline Customs replied. He and Pup had met in Sturgis at the bike show and stayed in contact throughout the winter. Knowing these were the guys he wanted for the job, Pup asked Dana and Jeff “Money” Urman to throw down some sick custom candy paint and art work. Dana, well known for his award-winning paintjobs, and Jeff were given very specific instructions.
“Do what you do.”
Two months and more than 200-plus hours of paint/airbrush work later, Pup, Dana, and Jeff debuted the new custom House of Kolor paint/airbrush at the Donnie Smith show in St. Paul, Minnesota. Although they didn’t win the show, it gave Pup the opportunity to meet a lot of great people in the custom bike business. “My goal of having a custom one-of-a-kind bagger built to ride everyday was accomplished,” he reminisces. “I would personally like to thank Dana, Dan, Jeff, Tim, and Mike for all of their hard work on this build and definitely making it stand out in a crowd.”
With two Sturgis runs under its belt already, we’re pretty confident Pup Closson’s Street Glide will go on a third, unless Steve Bundy laughs at it if/when Pup installs 16-inch apehangers. Who knows what he’ll buy if that happens. B