Jeremy Cupp’s Message To Young America

The Marquee Has No lights…

Story & Images: Harleigh Cupp

Inspiration.. A story that can only be told from the eyes and pen of a daughter’s love. Harleigh Cupp once again lets us have a peek into her world with a quick tale of a father’s task.  From inspiration comes hope.. Yes there is still hope – RC 

You’ve never seen the name “Jeremy Cupp” spelled out under the marquee lights, but
quite frankly, that’s because the marquee has no lights. Nestled beneath the foothills of the Blue
Ridge Mountains in Virginia sits a sleepy little town called Grottoes. On one of the busiest
streets sits the ugliest tan colored building you’ve ever seen. The marquee reads, “Grottoes
Theater” in hand-cut aluminum letters and the hands that cut those letters are hard at work,
somewhere in the back with his bluetooth speaker turned all the way up. That’s where I found
Jeremy, so I figured that would be the most logical place to photograph him. (Now might be a
good time to point out that setting up an interview with the man was reasonably easy for me,
considering I’m his oldest daughter).

Shoved in a corner of The Shop is a grimy trophy case
filled with dozens of impressive titles won at this show or that and while they are all really cool
and perhaps something to be proud of, Dad doesn’t care. He leaves the lights in the case flicked
on to keep burglars from getting too curious in the night. The most impressive thing about
Jeremy Cupp is the message he sends to young America (and a young generation of
motorcycle enthusiasts across the world). He sends this message loud and clear through his
integrity, his craftsmanship, and his genuine passion for the two. If I were a filmmaker rather
than a photographer, I’d slap some cheesy title with allusion to the concept of the American
Dream on top of his story. Because to me, that’s what his story is: one man’s pursuit and dare I
say discovery of the American Dream. Motorcycles and a machine shop just happen to be part
of the setting.

comes from a long line of fabricators and welders of all kinds and had been running around on
two wheeled machines for most of his life. So in 2006, it seemed only natural to start his own
small business with the chopper enthusiast in mind: LC Fabrications. Believe it or not, the LC
stands for Lindsay Cupp, his wife. They had only been married four years when the business
got started and she recalls that the beginning was, “one of the hardest things we have done. I
was a stay at home mom with three small children picking up part time hours when my parents
could help with childcare. Money was tight, but Jeremy had a vision and a passion to do
something amazing.”

LC Fab has always been based in the same small town, undergoing
several moves as the business began to grow and Jeremy’s name began to make its way out of
the Shenandoah Valley. At first, The Shop was no more than a night and weekend shift in the
corner of his day job at Cupp Manufacturing. When the kids were just barely big enough to help
load boxes onto the trailer, The Shop moved across town to the old grocery store, a building
shared with a karate dojo. Just as Jeremy’s build Seven was beginning to take shape, LC Fab
moved a few blocks down the street into a building that was once a bustling theater

Fast forward nearly a decade, and you’ll find Jeremy exactly where I found him. Working on his latest project bike while running the CNC machine in the back. Machining parts for LC Fab, as well as other well known companies such as Lowbrow Customs certainly keeps the lights on, while building custom motorcycles keeps the internal sparks alive. Jeremy has rolled out thirteen complete builds so far and the most remarkable piece is that each one required (and challenged) him to learn a new skill through a few YouTube videos and countless hours of trial and error. Two of these beautiful machines are forever resting at the Haas Moto Museum in Dallas, Texas and each of the others has been sold to different folks across the country and even across the world! Dad doesn’t travel to flashy shows with cash prizes much anymore, but I can’t help but take that as a sign of a mature craftsman, one who works hard to leave something behind for his family rather than souvenirs from cool events in far away places. Lindsay notes that his greatest accomplishment has been, “our three amazing children. No matter the number of deadlines he needs to meet or orders to be filled he takes time to put his family first.

Two years ago, Jeremy was finally able to quit his day job and start working full time for
himself. It didn’t take long to realize, however, that he was going to need a bit of help. That’s where his youngest daughter, Emmi comes in. She took an interest in the trade and last year, the two finished her first custom build together.  Emmi just recently graduated high school and
when she isn’t working as a mechanic at the local bicycle shop, she’s working right alongside Dad. If there is one person who knows Jeremy best, it would be his Shop Girl, Emmi. She writes, “In the shop, everything melts together into one big, wonderful mess. And I mean this both in terms of physical tasks and emotional bonds. There is no doubt, and many others have agreed, that my dad is one heck of a father. My projects are his projects. My trials are his, and vice versa. If something doesn’t turn out right, move on to the next option. If there is a chance to
be creative and do something you’ve never tried, go for it. At the same time, if you’re feeling
drained, trapped, and want nothing to do with your current task, piss on it and do something else.” While Emmi is most-likely-to-take-over-the-shop someday, everyone else plays a role in Jeremy’s machine shop life as well. Lindsay polishes parts and keeps track of all the paperwork, our brother Drake mans the welder from time to time as well as serves as the master mechanic, and I…ok, so maybe I just drop in to hang out sometimes, but I’m counting that as moral support. Our family owned The Shop before we owned a house and some of the greatest
conversations have gone down within its four walls. The Shop on Sixth Street serves as a living representation of a dream built from the ground up by a self-made man born into a humble life in rural Virginia.

One thing many people don’t realize about Jeremy is that he has an amazing smile.  When he smiles, I see not only the man who raised me, but a genuine character that stands out from the rest of the crowd. He is rooted in tradition and through many years of hard work, he has gone from a lonely apartment to a shop filled with treasures of the very best kind. Treasure that can only be bought with blood, sweat, and yes, even some tears. Maybe someday I’ll get
around to making a movie about my old man, but until then, the world should look no further than an ugly tan building in the middle of nowhere for inspiration that will last long after I’m gone.


LC Fabrications



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