Editor Bill Hudgins never met a pun he didn’t like—or try to top. We long since gave up trying to fight his wordplay and instead have channeled it into headline and caption writing. Besides double-entendres, his brain is crammed with arcane facts, aphorisms, song lyrics and anecdotes, bolstered by a reporter’s and avid crossword addict’s skills in using online search engines to supplement the gaps.
Bill graduated from Columbia University with an English degree in 1972, a tumultuous time to be in college (that he now ruefully admits is studied as “history”). He attended The College of Communications Graduate School at UT-Knoxville and reported and edited on newspapers in Alabama and Tennessee until 1987, when he jumped to public relations at a firm then headed by Hammock Inc.’s founder, Rex Hammock.
The PR firm offered what is now known as custom publishing, and Bill worked on several projects there, including magazines about hunting and fishing, trucking and senior citizens. He segued from there to Hammock in late 1993, he has edited magazines about long-haul trucking, American history, personal watercraft and the Marine Corps. He also serves as the office curmudgeon, figuring Andy Rooney’s job will open up someday, and part-time Luddite, preferring power tools over PowerBooks.
When not juggling magazine projects, Bill “relaxes” by writing columns for several trucking magazines—his experience at Hammock left a lifelong passion for chrome, steel and diesel. At the other end of the spectrum, he anticipated the craze over “Dancing With the Stars” by taking up ballroom dancing just before the show began airing in the United States. He’s been on the DL list after some foot surgery, but considering a comeback
He and his wife Wilda like to travel, and not having kids, it’s easy for them to do so. After a trip to the Soviet Union in 1987, he learned to speak Russian so they could get around better on two later trips. They live on what he calls a micro-mini-farm in Gallatin, a town near Nashville, where they board abused horses and donkeys rescued by a local organization. He also is one of three members of the town’s Beer Licensing Board, and was involved in a successful effort to raise funds to build a new library in Gallatin.