While J.B. Mauney grabbed all the headlines by riding Asteroid, Austin Meier moved up two spots in the world standings from eighth to sixth.
In a season in which L.J. Jenkins, who is ranked second in the world, is a Top 5 rider for the first time in his eight-year career, Meier is 122 points shy of doing the same for the second time in the past three years.
The ongoing storylines of 2012 have involved Valdiron de Oliveira, Silvano Alves, Mauney and, only recently, Jenkins. Meanwhile Meier has tallied up the third most attempts (65), has the fourth most qualified rides (33), tied for third with the most Top 5 finishes (6) and is fifth in money earned with $173,753.81.
He's one Top 10 finish away from being the fifth rider to reach double figures - twice he finished 11th - and on pace to surpass his career best of 14, which he did in 2010 when he finished second in the world behind Renato Nunes.
Meier is also among only nine of the 33 riders, who have ridden in 10 more Built Ford Tough Series events, to have a riding average of 50 percent or better. He's also one of only 10 riders to have competed in all 21 events, to this point.
Yet other than the week in which he won the event in Billings, Mont., Meier might be the least-talked-about rider in the Top 10.
Meier is unfazed.
"It's definitely a good time to be on a roll - no matter who you are," said Meier, who on three other occasions - Anaheim, Calif.; Arlington, Texas, and this past weekend San Antonio, Texas - has finished second in the average.
"I'm going to take this week off, do some things around the house, enjoy just being me - a country boy working on my hunting stuff and taking care of cows - and then keep going on that roll and try to win lots of money and lots of points."
Like Meier, three of the riders ahead of him in the world standings - Oliveira, Mauney and Guilherme Marchi - know what it's like to finish second in the world standings.
The four account for every second place finish as far back as 2005, but only Marchi has followed up with a world title.
"Compared to some of the other guys in there I haven't done my job good enough to be in the limelight too much." -- Austin Meier.
Like Meier (2010), Oliveira (2011) and Mauney (2008, 2009) are still pursuing the elusive gold buckle and the $1 million bonus that comes with being the World Champion. But Meier is almost never considered an equal.
In fact, he's been criticized for having poor mechanics and relying on his grit and effort.
However, PBR co-founder and current livestock director Cody Lambert has said, in the past, that Meier ought to be heralded for "trying his butt off every time" he nods his head.
"I really don't care if I was ignored or not or whatever," Meier said. "Really, compared to some of the other guys in there I haven't done my job good enough to be in the limelight too much. I need to be stepping it up and getting into the Top 5.
"Long story short, I'm having fun riding bulls - doing something I love - and I had a great summer. I went to a bunch of Touring Pro Division events and had great success throughout the summer, won lots of money and stayed in a groove."
Even from a career standpoint, Meier has the fourth most Top 5 finishes (39) among the current Top 10 riders in the world standings.
This year, Meier surpassed $1 million in career earnings and is currently at $1,113,762.40, which is 22nd on the all-time list of money earners.
By season's end he'll be well into the Top 20. He's earned nearly $850,000 in the past four season and there's still a quarter of the 2012 regular-season remaining as well as the World Finals, which is the richest event in bull riding.
Just this weekend he went 3-for-4 and took home $17,000.
It was good outing for the 25-year-old from Oklahoma. A week earlier, in Tulsa, Okla., he went 0-for-the-weekend and fell another 458 points behind Oliveira. This week he gained back 687.75 points by the end of the Bass Pro Shops Chute Out.
Meier said he's not trying to make any sort of statement with regard to being mentioned when the conversation turns to the list of contenders. Instead, he said, "It's plain and simple, I'm there to just ride bulls."
It's not about winning every event or winning every round - though he tries. Alves has proven it's about covering more bulls than anyone else on tour.
There are seven BFTS events remaining between now and the Finals. To this point, he's averaged 291 points per event, which is a number he'll have to increase in the next two months to have any chance of being within 1,000 points of the No. 1 spot when he arrives in Las Vegas.
He'll have to cut down on his 0-for-the-weekend stat, which is at five.
Of the five riders ranked ahead of him only Mauney, who went 0-for-the-weekend four times and missed three events, and Marchi, who has gone without a ride seven times, have had more scoreless weekends.
He's started off 11 of 21 events with a qualified ride in the opening round, including five of the past seven, which is a trend he needs to continue.
"Hopefully after this last weekend it'll put me closer in that race," Meier said. "I need to have more weekends like this if I'm going to truly be in that race, come the Finals. One thing about it is that you just do it one bull at a time, one weekend at a time and at the end of the year you find out where you're at."
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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