‘He died doing what he loved’ community remembers photographer killed in ‘freak accident’ at mud racing event

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The fiancee of a photographer killed just a day before Easter, while taking photos at a mud racing event on Eastern Shore, says he died doing what he loved.

"I lost the love of my life," says Barbara Wright, who was in a relationship with Rick Ulerick for the last eleven years in Virginia Beach. "I keep waiting for him to walk in the front door."

The 48-year-old was taking photos of the Muddin' at the Moose event at the Exmore Moose Lodge.

According to Virginia State Police, Ulerick was actively photographing the truck race through the pit when he was accidentally hit by a truck that was participating in the event.

Wright says he took pictures at mud racing or "mud bogging" events for the past three to four years up and down the east coast.

He would travel to the events almost every weekend in the spring and summer.

"He always put himself out there to get the best shots," says Phillip Edward Hall Senior, a mud racer and friend of Ulerick's. "It's hard when you lose somebody like that because he did it tirelessly and he did it for nothing."

Witnesses at the event told News 3 it was a "freak accident" that nobody could have prevented.

"We're going to miss his smile, everything, his ability, and just him being there he lit up the races, everybody knew him everybody loved him," says Hall.

Wright says Ulerick worked at Hepaco Inc. in Norfolk as a environmental specialist for his full-time job for the past 25 years.

She is coordinating with his family to plan a Celebration of Life, but that date has not been set yet.

Dennis Anderson's Muddy Motorsports Park posted on Facebook that their next event, the "Spring Sling" on April 29, will be held in Ulerick's honor.

Police say his death is being investigated as an accidental death.