FORT WORTH, Texas - Austin Meier promises this
summer will be different.
After staying home the past two summers - with the exception of
the Calgary Stampede and a couple of Touring Pro Division events -
Meier said this year, he and his traveling partner, Skeeter
Kingsolver, are planning to compete nearly every weekend
between now and when the Built Ford Tough Series resumes in
"We're going to try and win some extra money," Meier said, "and
help him get back on tour, too."
The past few weeks, they've been to a few events in Texas, as
well as North Carolina.
This weekend, Meier and Kingsolver are headed to Bismarck, N.D.,
for a TPD event hosted by stock contractor Chad Berger.
Ryan Dirteater, Dusty LaBeth and
Mickey Andrews are also making this week's trip
The five riders are also part of the Ford Invasion this week,
and will be posting updates and videos to FordInvasion.com.
"I always find enjoyment in being around the house and getting
lots of work done," Meier said, "but to be healthy and get to go to
Touring Pro events, which I love going to, it's something you look
forward to. It's fun. It's a little bit different atmosphere than
Built Ford Tough events, and whenever you love doing something and
you're healthy, you just want to do it all the time.
"Some of those long drives can be fun, especially when you're
with your friends and guys that you're close with like family."
Much like the past three years, Meier is ranked in the Top 10 of
the world standings.
He's currently eighth.
He's been to all 19 BFTS events, covered just over 50 percent of
his bulls (30 of 59) and, in the process, recorded eight Top 10
finishes. Five of those have been in the Top 5, including an event
win in Billings, Mont.
However, unlike other recent summer breaks, he's healthy.
"It's nice to be able to go to those by choice and not because
you have to," Meier said, when asked about the grind of driving to
several TPD events each week, as opposed to flying once a week to a
BFTS event. "At times, it can get to be a grind and tiring, but
most of the time it's a whole lot of fun.
"Any time you can get on in the summer, it's going to keep you
fresher come fall - if you can stay healthy."
The draw this week looks a lot like a BFTS event.
Robson Palermo, Kody Lostroh,
Mike Lee and Ben Jones are
competing in North Dakota, as well as Sean
Willingham, Kasey Hayes, Colby
Yates, Cody Campbell, Reese
Cates and others.
"There will be events this summer where it'll pretty much be
straight up (BFTS) guys," Meier said. "There will be a few Touring
Pro guys, but other than that, it'll be all Built Ford Tough guys
pretty much through and through."
With a full schedule of July events forthcoming, including
another trip to the Calgary Stampede for Meier, the Oklahoma native
said he and Kingsolver intend to enjoy life on the road.
He said they tend to feed off one another's momentum.
Although the long drives can be exhausting, the difference
between events like the one in Bismarck and the events on the BFTS
is that riders can focus 100 percent of their attention on what's
taking place inside the arena.
There are less television cameras and less media obligations
over the course of an event, as well.
"Skeet and I talked about it, and the goal for both of us is
that every Touring Pro we go to, we both place at," Meier said. "We
might not win every one, but our goal is to place at every one.
When you set big goals, big things happen and you get a lot of
things accomplished along the way."