STILL BORN TO BE “HOG WILD” | Born To Ride Motorcycle Magazine - Motorcycle TV, Radio, Events, News and Motorcycle Blog


Published on June 2, 2015 under Blog


by Paul Murray

In the V-twin motorcycle mechanic circles and especially around the Albany, Georgia area where he lives, when someone talks about working on Harley-Davidson’s, the name Billy Potter and “Hog Wild” undoubtedly always comes up.

Billy got involved with bikes because Harley’s were cool when Billy was growing up. His father, Navy WWII Veteran, Jim Potter, owned the local Harley dealership since the late ’50s. His Dad always had a Harley. In 1947, Jim rode coast-to-coast on his Harley knuckle-head rigid frame springer from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to San Diego, CA to see Billy’s mom-to-be. Jim said the roads were not as good as today; there was no Interstate and you could really feel every bump and hole in the road on a rigid.

Billy’s family has a rich history of racing Harleys. His father, the late Jim Potter, was one of the pioneers of Harley drag racing. In 1961 he managed the 1/4 mile in 11.4 sec with a mean velocity of 125 mph on his “O’l Milwaukee Express.” Jim’s Harley dealership also sponsored a flat track team, with big brother Joe and the shop foreman, Clete. Both were experts. Billy and brother, Jimmy, tagged along to some regional events as novices. Billy was always learning, by looking over the shoulder of the professional tuners and mechanics at the track as well as the dealership. Joe’s involvement in racing ended after a crash on the mile circuit and the elder Potter ceased the sponsorship.

Billy went to Harley factory school, when it was still held in Milwaukee, for the 2-week basic course in 1976, the advanced course in 1978, and then the “Evo” course in 1984. Even though “choppers” were cool, they weren’t for “The Motor Co.” at the time. And while Jim Potter sold stock Harley’s at the dealership, Billy worked out of the home to build these choppers. In 1978, he won his class at the famous Daytona Beach Rat-Hole Bike Show.

So he wouldn’t compete with his father, Billy moved to Tallahassee, Florida in 1979 and started Hog Wild. While attending Sturgis, his brother Jimmy was killed during an armed robbery at the shop. After that incident, Billy’s dad asked him to come home to the Albany area where he’s been ever since.


Later in the late ’80s, Jim Potter sold the dealership and Billy did his wrenching out of the home again. It would be 13 years until another Harley dealership would come to Albany under another owner. After two different ownerships, the dealership was sold again and moved to Tifton in 2010. Jim had already moved on into the lawn mower and golf cart sales business and was out of the bike business completely but not Billy.

A few years after his dad closed, Billy moved into the vacant building that used to house the dealership. He started to develop his reputation once again, not only as one the top 10 shovelhead mechanics in the Nation but also as a builder. He was the only non-dealer mechanic who was invited to work at the Harley dealership during the Sturgis rallies. His experiences at the dealership kept his mechanic ability honed.

In 1999, Billy was given the opportunity to be the dealer for the rejuvenated Indian motorcycle; he picked up the Panzer dealership in 2001. During that time he also built custom bikes, chopper, pro-street, and panhead replica bikes along with Harley repairs, until Indian went out of business again in 2003.

His involvement with drag-racing began at the Warner Robins drag strip at the All-Harley Drags. For $50 you could get a license to do runs on the track. He built the motor for the bagger he ran down the track and was asked to compete because his times were better than some of the pros. This started a brief career of racing the dressers he built and raced in the All-Harley Drags circuit.

Riding on the way back from Sturgis on his dresser, he stopped at the Truett & Osborne drags in Kansas, one of the oldest motorcycle drag racing competitions in the U.S. He won the “B” class, running in a bracket race. He ran at the Memphis Nationals and many regional drag circuits. He was the runner up in the “FLASH race” (Fastest Legal All Street Harley) at Sturgis, two times. He strapped the FLASH trophy onto his saddle bag with bungee cords and proudly rode by the “big rig” trailers of the pros … and rode home on the same bike he ran in the drags. Billy admits that he was not a very good drag racer. It was the engine he built that developed the power to beat the competition.

Billy not only continues to do repairs, but still builds one-of-a-kind” bikes to order. He likes to try some things that no one else wants to try. He is all about making a bike run right, and he doesn’t skimp on costs. The business motto is, “Our reputation is your guarantee.” “It’s my work and reputation that goes out with every bike I build or repair and the pride in doing it right,” says Billy.

Check out Hog Wild’s web site at or call (229) 446-0078 for any info.

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