In 1969, Steadman was assigned by Warren Hinckle's short-lived Scanlan's Monthly to accompany Hunter S. Thompson, the acclaimed author of Hell's Angels, to cover the Kentucky Derby. The piece they produced, "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved," focused on the parties surrounding the race in Thompson's hometown of Louisville. Steadman later recalled their introduction, when he was accosted by "two fierce eyes, firmly socketed inside a bullet-shaped head. . . damn near 6-foot-6 of solid bone and meat."