It took until last Thursday morning for Austin Meier to feel he had gotten a full night’s rest.
The four sleepless nights had nothing to with coming two-tenths of a second away from being the Iron Cowboy the previous Saturday. That night he had ridden six bulls, including two re-rides, and said he wouldn’t have been able to ride Super Duty for a shot at $100,000 even if he had outlasted Colby Yates in the final round.
Instead, his sleeplessness had to do with feeling “pretty crippled up and dang sure hurting and sore.”
In preparation for last weekend’s event, he took Epsom salt baths to pull the soreness and swelling out, and drank a lot of water to help flush the lactic acid out of his body. He also had a couple of massages and took a trip to the chiropractor, along with “everyday maintenance.”
“It all helps … icing, stretching,” he said.
“Last week kind of made me wonder how this week was going to feel when I was walking out of the arena. About halfway through the week, things started turning around. My body started feeling good again.”
Last weekend in St. Louis, Meier looked as healthy as he has in a month.
The 24-year-old from Kinta, Okla., had finished second in three consecutive events, and then achieved five Top 5 finishes in a row with a fifth-place finish at the St. Louis Invitational..
He’s had six Top 5 finishes in the first eight Built Ford Tough Series events, and aside from the Iron Cowboy Invitational, he hasn’t gone a weekend without putting at least one score on the board.
“You might not win every round or a lot of events,” he said, “but as long as you keep putting scores on the board, you’re going to keep adding points up and making money.”
Coming off his best season as a professional – he finished second behind Renato Nunes in last year’s world standings – Meier has been among the most consistent riders on tour, especially in the short rounds. He’s covered nine of 10 bulls in the short rounds this year, including four of five in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
He and Valdiron de Oliveira, who is a mere 30.75 points ahead of Meier for the top spot in the world, lead the way with 21 qualified rides after eight events.
“It really feels great to be riding this consistent,” Meier said. “I’m getting on great bulls, too, and I guess it’s a great start to the year. I’m staying healthy for the most part, drawing great bulls and riding great, too. It’s a great combination when a guy wakes up the next morning and gets to go get on more bulls.”
“It’s the same old game,” said Meier, “just riding bulls, having fun, and I’m matched up with good roommates.”
He added that he’s not doing anything differently from a year ago.
In looking at his statistics – aside from the Iron Cowboy he’s ridden 16 of 18 bulls in the other four most recent events – Meier concluded, “I’m stepping it up a level.”
— by Keith Ryan Cartwright
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