Harley Owners Group (HOG) was created by the Harley Davidson Motor Company in 1983. According to Harley Davidson, it was "in response to a growing desire by Harley riders for an organized way to share their passion and show their pride".
The name was chosen by the fact that long time ago, when Harley Davidson still regularly was successful on the racing circuits, the winning driver would bring their mascot, a hog, on the bike for the lap of honor.
To be member of HOG, one has to own a Harley Davidson motorcycle and pay the yearly membership fee. In the spring of 2002, Harley Owners Group counted more than 650,000 members worldwide.
Harley Owners Group is divided in local chapters, working as local motorcycle groups. The chapters organize rallies for their members, both locally and internationally. They also promote Harley equipment and services from associated companies, like insurance companies etc.
A chapter is always organized and maintained by an official Harley Davidson dealer. The chapter has a board of it's own, elected by it's members. But since the chapter is ultimately 'owned' by the dealer, the dealer has the last word in who sits on the board and who may be a member of the chapter.
To be member of a local chapter, one has to be a member of HOG, pay the chapter membership fee and be approved by the dealer. Members that actively promote competing products or services can be (and have been) excluded by the dealer 'owning' the chapter.