CHESTERTON | Curly’s Custom Cycles continues to land in the national spotlight – this time on the cover of American Bagger magazine. The November issue features the most expensive build put together by the team at the American V-twin full-service and custom shop.
“A local guy from Lake Station came to me because he loved what we were doing. He bought a bike and said do whatever you want,” said owner Lance “Curly” Waugaman. “He pulled up in a Mr. Norm’s Challenger so we made a clone of the car … took every piece apart and transformed it.”
The team’s work has been featured in other magazines including additional editions of American Bagger as well as Road Iron. The coverage is spurred from receiving honors as well as just putting their cycles on display while attending various shows across the country including in Sturgis, S.D., and Daytona, Fla.
“A lot of (coverage) is from just being out there on the big stage with all of the big shots in the industry,” Waugaman said. “I remember when I first started, I couldn’t wait to be featured in a big magazine and then to be on a cover. Our first cover is another level of where we want to go and that we are doing the right things.”
Curly’s team focuses on Harleys and can do a range of custom work from full and partial builds and paint jobs to hand-made fenders and gas tanks and custom frames.
“We try to stress we do more then put out crazy high-end motorcycles. We can do all of the service work and day-to-day maintenance … we call ourselves a ‘one-stop shop.’ If you see it on TV, we can do it,” Waugaman said. “I do all of the fabrication myself. I have a great crew of guys who specialize in their own niches. We are pretty well-rounded. I give props to my team … it takes a good team to pull it all off.”
Waugaman followed his father, Ralph, along his own path into the “gearhead nation.”
“My father is a big inspiration. I grew up around Harleys and race cars and I was always out in the garage as a kid. My dad passed when I was 13 but he planted the seed of motorcycle and hot rod blood in me,” Waugaman said. “I have a love and passion for what I do … I truly love what I am doing.”
Waugaman originally balanced the start-up while still working at U.S. Steel. In 2010, he took the leap to work on Curly’s full-time, leaving behind the benefits of steady work.
“I worked at U.S. Steel for 11 years. It was pretty crazy to give that up … I started getting busier and busier and it was too hard to do both. I had the support of my wife (Lisa) who told me to follow my dreams. Not many have great support like I do,” Waugaman said.
With national recognition, Curly’s is garnering business from across the country, including a recent Alabama customer who had his bike shipped to the shop for custom work.
“(Being featured in magazines) had led to multiple out-of-state builds,” Waugaman said. “I want to do this for a long time to come. I have a few tricks up my sleeve and look to revolutionize the industry. I have to wait and see what each day brings here on out.”