KINTA, Okla. - Austin Meier will turn 26
when he nods his head at the Monster Energy Invitational in New
York City on Jan. 5. And while the Oklahoma native still feels he's
in the prime of his career, there's no denying that he thinks more
about his birthdays now than he used to.
"I know I still have quite a few years before I'm done, but I also realize that each year is another year closer to your career being done," said Meier, who is competing this weekend at the Tour Pro Division stop in Fort Worth, Texas. "It makes you want to capitalize that much more."
Meier is entering is eighth season in the PBR, with more than $1.25 million in career earnings. He's owns a riding percentage of nearly 50 percent and has competed in a total of 191 events. He's won eight times and has 18 90-point-plus rides on this resume.
Giving it his all, surrounding himself with good people and staying relatively healthy are what Meier believes has made him one of the sport's top bull riders over the years.
"One of my biggest pet peeves is not trying," he said. "I
don't care what you are doing, whether it's riding bulls or
shoveling snow, you should try and give it all you got. That's
caused some injuries for me and it's also made me lots of
"Sometimes when you are giving it all you got, you put yourself in a situation to get banged up. It's a risk you take, but I think at the level that we are at and with the short amount of time that we have to make this kind of money, there's no sense in not giving all you got every time you nod, because there's a million other kids just waiting for you to fall and take your place."
"I don't care what you are doing, whether it's riding bulls or shoveling snow, you should try and give it all you got."
Meier's gutsy approach is shared by his traveling partners Skeeter Kingsolver and Ryan Dirteater. Every day, they are on the phone with each other or heading down the road to the next event. Kingsolver, who hails from McLouth, Kan., is set to stop by Meier's home in Kinta, Okla., on Saturday and the two friends will drive to Fort Worth for the Cowtown Classic.
"Skeet and I are a lot alike," Meier said. "Our
personalities are enough the same that we can get along after being
on the road together for two weeks. We know when to say something
or when not to say something."
Meier's biggest ally, however, is his wife of seven years, Kristen. She handles the business end of her husband's bull riding career.
"When it comes to who I am and how I handle things, she's
a lot of what keeps me where I am at and headed in the direction of
success," Meier said.
Kristen also trains and sells barrel horses, and the two share a passion for hunting. Meier spent a few weekends last fall taking part in two cable TV hunting shows, where he had success getting a couple of deer.
Luck has also played a key role in Meier's rise in the PBR. He's remained relatively healthy over the years, which is a bonus in the world's most dangerous sport.
"We can work out and be in shape, but there's that flat-out luck of not getting stepped on or other stuff you can't control," Meier said. "The last few years I've been really blessed in terms of not getting seriously hurt."
Meier plans, he said, to compete a full BFTS schedule in
2013, including getting to as many Touring Pro Division events that
"I enjoy them (TPD)," Meier said, "and with the new points system it's a great opportunity to gain more points."
© 2014 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.