For nearly a century, Harley-Davidson motorcycles have been affectionately dubbed "hogs." While one might assume this nickname stems from the bikes' size or roar, its origins lie in the world of racing.
Harley-Davidson entered the racing scene in 1914 at the Dodge City 300, though they fell short to rival Indian. However, victories in 1915 and 1916 at the same event solidified their prowess. Preceding World War I, Harley riders dominated, earning them the nickname "The Wrecking Crew," a moniker later shared with Indian riders.
During WWI, racing halted, but post-war, The Wrecking Crew returned triumphantly. Ray Weishaar, a team member, brought a pet piglet, Johnny, who became their mascot. Celebratory victory laps with Johnny on the gas tank led journalists to dub them "the Harley Hogs," suggesting Harley was "hogging" victories from competitors.
Over time, "hog" became synonymous with Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The company embraced the term, using "HOG" as an acronym for the Harley Owners Group and in stock market listings. Marketing efforts perpetuated the nickname, although the current portrayal of the hog differs from Johnny, as a cute piglet wouldn't quite suit a motorcycle's image.
Interestingly, the love for Harley-Davidson motorcycles extends beyond the United States. In Ontario, Canada, Harley enthusiasts gather for rallies and events, showcasing the widespread appeal of these iconic machines.