MORRISBURG–Building a dream is what Kevin Casselman has been doing since he purchased his Harley-Davidson in August of 2007. Hundreds upon hundreds of hours of work and hundreds upon hundreds of dollars later, he says his dream is now pretty much complete.
“I bought it original in 2007, and then I built it up,” he says of his Pacific blue-denim coloured Heritage Classic 2007 Harley Softail. “I dressed it up, I guess you would say.”
Casselman, who is the Animal Control officer for South Dundas and several other local municipalities, has worked on his bike in his spare time since he first purchased it.
“It’s been my winter hobby and anytime when the Shelter is slow. I drive it right into the house to work on it. I also have a work shop.”
Casselman says he had bikes years ago, “when I was a kid. It was Hondas and Yamahas back then, but I always wanted a Harley.”
For Casselman, the pleasure he has derived from his Harley has been as much, maybe even more, from the customizing and personalizing he has done on it, as from riding it.
“I just ride it on little light tours. I trailer it to most of the shows I attend, some as far away as Sudbury and Owen Sound.”
His most recent trip was to Biketoberfest 2013, on September 21st, in Fenwick, Ontario (12 miles outside Niagara Falls). He returned home from Biketoberfest with the first place trophy in the Stock Class.
In fact, over the years of entering his Harley in shows, he has collected 43 first place trophies, two seconds and one third. He has participated in shows in Peterborough, Sudbury, Quebec, Petawawa, Carleton Place and a number of other locations across Ontario. One of his challenges is to find time for the shows, as he can get away from the Shelter for no more than a day at a time. “I can’t push it. I have someone who helps care for the animals, but I have to be available for calls.”
At Peterborough, he has won “Best of Show” for the past three years.
Casselman says he enjoys the quiet time spent working on his bike, which he says is “99.9 percent all Harley parts. I made them fit the bike. A lot are custom parts I built myself and had re-chromed.” He proudly displays a Harley eagle which he re-worked and is now mounted on the bike’s rear fender. His millwork is done by Dan at Eastern Ontario Millwrights.
In addition to getting help and advice from good friend Jimmy Smith in Morrisburg, he says “I picked up some of my ideas from other bikers, from magazines and from bikes I have seen at the various shows.”
Although, he is by no means a bike mechanic, he says he is mechanically inclined. “When I first started, I didn’t touch things, but I have learned as I went along. I have counted on Jimmy (Smith) a number of times to talk over different ideas and to ask him for advice on little problems.”
Casselman says that he also enjoys the show and talking to other bike enthusiasts. “There are hours of questions and lots of photos have been taken of the bike. They want to know what this is, or how I did something. People take their bikes very seriously. There are some who will spend $12-$15,000 just for a paint job.”
“I have had some offers to purchase it and a lot of people have asked how much it is worth. I just tell them ‘half a house’.”
No one, other than Casselman himself has actually been allowed to work on the bike. However, “I have allowed a few friends (Carol and Chris Prunner, Kelly Connerty) to help polish it as it takes me two days, off and on, to polish it. That’s not steady polishing mind you, but that is what it takes to get it show ready.”
So with his Heritage Classic Harley, pretty much the way he wants it to be, what now. “This one I’ll probably keep forever,” he says, “but I do have my eye on a Harley Fat Boy.”