On Wednesday evening Jordan Hupp and his wife Philicia decorated their Christmas tree.
Admiring their work, he said, "Yeah, it looks pretty good."
This will be the last time they celebrate the holiday season alone in the house they share in Stephenville, Texas, as Hupp nonchalantly announced some big news.
Asked if had anything to add at the end of a telephone interview, Hupp said, "No, not really. Oh, ah, I'm having a baby."
Philicia's due date is July 4, 2013.
The couple met at a Built Ford Tough Series event in Duluth, Ga., where they were introduced by their parents, who happened to be sitting next to each other. Hupp's parents traveled to the event with him, while Philicia's parents were there to watch her brother Harve Stewart compete.
A short time later, Hupp relocated from Wyoming to Texas and they married seven months later in June of 2010. Their child is expected approximately three years after exchanging wedding vows.
PBR co-founder Michael Gaffney, who is the son of a former Marine, was born on the Fourth of July. However, Hupp quickly pointed out, "They say the due date is almost statistically impossible for that to happen. It almost always happens before or after it, so it probably won't, but it is a possibility as my wife is telling me."
He and Philicia got the news last month, just days before they traveled to Australia for three PBR Australian Cup Series events.
While in Australia for the better part of three weeks, Hupp rode seven of nine bulls, earned his way into the Championship Round of all three events and did plenty of sightseeing.
"Oh, ah, I'm having a baby."
Although the two bulls he bucked off would have resulted in a bigger payday for the Cheyenne, Wyo., native, he was ecstatic to get a jumpstart on earning some all-important points in the world standings.
"With the new system the PBR came out with, I felt like it was pretty important to get out and get some points racked up," said Hupp, who decided on making the first trip of his career to Australia because those three events offered more points and money than what was on the schedule in the United States.
Last month, the PBR announced a new point system in which the world standings and World Finals qualification are all determined based on points earned at BFTS events, Touring Pro Division events and international events.
While all the points earned at a BFTS event are tabulated in the world standings, riders will have 25 percent of their total points earned at other sanctioned PBR events also added into the world standings.
The trip gave Hupp, who finished the 2012 season ranked 27th in the world standings, and other American riders such as Sean Willingham, Jory Markiss, Zack Brown and Chase Outlaw, an opportunity to earn much-needed points they wouldn't have otherwise had.
"Honestly, had I been able to hit some $10,000- or $15,000-added bull-ridings here in the States, I would have been more inclined to stay," he said, "and just save the time and the energy of going, but they were just by far the best that were going on. It was kind of hard to miss them outside of the Canadian Finals, which I didn't get the opportunity to go to."
Hupp and his wife also took the opportunity to enjoy themselves Down Under between events.
Aside from jet skiing along the Gold Coast, they visited an Australian ranch one week, where they got to hold a wild koala bear. Jordan and Philicia spotted it while out for a walk and they said Brown was able to walk behind and pick it up.
"Zack just pretty much snatched him up under his arms, holding it away from him," Hupp recalled. "Everybody got to hold the koala bear and take a picture with it. It was pretty cool."
It was a different experience, Hupp said, and because there wasn't a language barrier it made things easier and more enjoyable.
This weekend, Hupp will compete at a TPD event in San Antonio, Texas, and again next weekend in Kearney, Neb.
"It's about wanting to keep getting on bulls," Hupp said, "and not wanting to go too long on a break. I feel like when things are going good I'd rather not go more than a couple of weeks and keep getting on."
He'll also compete on Dec. 28 and 29 at another TPD event in Fort Worth, Texas, before heading to New York for the start of the BFTS.
For Hupp and other riders, the mentality has long since been that they have to ride to make a living, but now it's about earning valuable points on the road to Las Vegas.
"There's a lot more points available than money," he said. "With this point system, you get points racked up. I think it's going to keep a lot more guys closer to getting in [the World Finals] and a lot more incentive to keep going. I see it working out good for everybody. I like it."
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC
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