Buck Lovell
Sunday, 2nd Mar, 2014
1218 views views


The Buck Lovell “Snow Rider” photo has been broadcast on Facebook so many times I have lost count. After numerous requests, I am providing the story about how, when and why this photograph came into existence for all you soon to be famous photographers!

The date was January 22, 2009. I was on my way to work from Boulder Canyon, near Deadwood, to Spearfish South Dakota. The route I usually took was east towards Sturgis then West on I-90 to Spearfish where I was employed as the Editor of the world’s first and still the best Bagger motorcycle magazine, American Bagger. I usually stopped at the Burger King at exit 30 in Sturgis to grab a coffee. As I approached the Burger King location, I saw this motorcycle with owner rider Pat Luisi of Blackhawk South Dakota, headed up BoulderCanyon towards Deadwood. This was the second or third time I had seen Pat on his way to work in Deadwood riding the recently introduced Crossbones model Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I thought to myself, “I’ll never be able to catch up to him and get pictures.” Then it occurred to me that I was driving a 4-wheel drive pickup truck, and should be able catch him. After all, Pat was riding a motorcycle on a very icy road in very cold conditions. That motorcycle by the way is endowed with the most stable and easy to ride low speed handling characteristics in the HD model lineup. I quickly grabbed my habitual morning coffee at Burger King and hauled ass up into the canyon towards Deadwood. Sure enough, Pat was riding slowly but determinedly up the road into BoulderCanyon at about 35-40 MPH.

Occasionally he would put his feet down to steady the bike. Pat was almost lugging the motor in the bike by keeping the RPM low on purpose so as not to spin that rear tire on the ice. He was also wearing a knitted ski mask under a hockey goalie facemask to try and keep his face from freezing. Pat was wearing several layers of warm clothing in addition to the requisite leather motorcycle jacket. After all the air temperature was about 18 degrees, and with the wind chill factor it was much lower. Do the math yourself for 18 degrees with the wind blowing in your face at 35 miles per hour!

When I caught up to Pat, I passed him as quickly as I could, and got far enough ahead to stop and set up for a photo. I actually passed him and photographed him three or four different times before reaching Deadwood, South Dakota. The ambient air temperature was by then down to around thirteen degrees. Deadwood is usually colder than the low-lying area towards Sturgis. Pat continued in to Deadwood to his place of employment, I followed him a short distance past the intersection of 14A and Highway 85 to get the last photo of the series. I then flipped a U-turn and made a left onto Westbound Highway 85 and headed towards Spearfish. I was late for work, but this was work huh?

Harley-Davidson’s house organ print magazine “the Enthusiast” published the following photo of Pat Luisi as he headed into downtown Deadwood.

Matt King, Editor of The Enthusiast elicited the following statement from Mr. Pat Luisi in a phone interview and used the quote as part of the caption published with the photo. The caption is as follows:


In South Dakota, not many people ride year round but I do. Some people think I’m nuts, but if you take the right precautions it’s really not that big a deal. I wear heavy Long johns under my jeans, thick socks, mittens, a hooded sweatshirt, jacket, facemask, scarf, and cap. That’s about it. Nothing electric. I’ve been riding for more than 30 years, but I got my Crossbones in 2008, as a Father’s Day present to myself. It’s a great ride and handles very well on the snowy streets. My ride to work is about 35 miles each way, but I’ve never had an accident. The only problem is when I’m wearing my big mittens it’s hard to flip off drivers like crazy photographers trying to run me off the road with their 4-wheel drive trucks.

Pat Luisi 2009
Blackhawk, South Dakota.

What is the moral of this story you might ask? The moral is simple; always but always keep a camera with you at all times. A Cell phone camera is better than nothing, but just barely. If you have a camera with you at all times you won’t miss that once in a lifetime shot. Believe me that once in a lifetime shot will happen if you don’t have a camera. Keep your feet warm and your camera handy, you may see something that begs to be photographed, and you’ll be ready. When you see the Snow Rider photos on Facebook or the internet, you now know the story of how the photos were made. Make sure you like us on:

Buck Lovell

Sturgis, South Dakota




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