Was Harley-Davidson's Mascot Almost a Raccoon?

The nickname "hog" was given to Harley-Davidson motorcycles over 90 years ago, when Harley-Davidson fielded a team of racers known as the "Wrecking Crew".  In 1920, the team was down in Marion, IN and team member Ray Weishaar was photographed giving the team mascot a drink of his soda before the race.

Each time a member of the team was victorious, they would take the pig with them on a victory lap.  This soon led to the team being nicknamed the "Harley Hogs" and eventually the name "hog" caught on and became slang for Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

The pig was not the only animal used as a race team mascot back in those days.  I've seen several photographs of various dogs playing that role, but what I find more amusing is this picture of a board track racer holding a raccoon.  Certainly just as interesting as the pig, he probably had a pretty good shot at becoming Harley's namesake.  A few extra victory laps with that raccoon and who knows what could have happened...

Just take a moment and think how differently things would have turned out for Harley-Davidson if the raccoon had taken the place of the pig.  Harley's would have become known as "coons" instead of "hogs".  You would overhear bikers saying things like "nice coon" and "I love the sound of a coon rumbling down the road."  HogTales would become CoonTales and who knows what they would call the HOG chapters.  Not to mention all the T-shirts Harley would have made with raccoon faces on them...

The impact on the fur industry would have been quite positive as everything from coon skin caps to coon tails would have remained popular among Harley riders.  Black masks (think the Lone Ranger) would replace the do-rag for riders wishing to look more like raccoons themselves.  I can just imagine rows of motorcycles lined up and down Main Street in Daytona Beach covered with raccoon themed accessories and various parts from real raccoons.  

At least one modern biker probably would have been glad if the raccoon had beat out the pig.  In the photo below, custom motorcycle builder Indian Larry is shown holding a raccoon.