FORT WORTH, Texas ― Austin Meier is waiting for his moment.
That moment originally was when his technique and potential would match his consistency and expectations. He experienced that this past weekend at a pair of Touring Pro Division events in Ohio and Massachusetts.
Now he's waiting for that same moment (or opportunity) to take place at a Built Ford Tough Series event.
"It's a little different look at things when you're there because you have to versus you choose to."
Meier, who finished last season ranked in the Top 10 for the fourth consecutive year, got off to what some might describe as an inauspicious start in 2013.
In five BFTS events he covered only four of 13 bulls and, at one point, was ranked outside the Top 70.
He was one of several riders, who qualified for last year's World Finals and wound up cut from the BFTS last week. It's a list that also includes the likes of travel partner Ryan Dirteater, along with Harve Stewart, Stormy Wing and others.
Stewart just missed the cut.
However, the Texas native won a TPD event in Yakima, Wash., and will be in St. Louis, Mo., this weekend after missing only one BFTS event. He needs less than 70 points ― the equivalent of one mediocre score ― to move into the Top 30 and assure himself a place in the BFTS draw from one week to the next.
Veteran Jarrod Craig won an event in Massachusetts and will also be in St. Louis. Wesley Lourenco also earned a place in this week's BFTS event.
Craig is roughly 500 points shy of being seated on the BFTS.
Although Meier didn't win either of the TPD events last weekend, he rode three of five bulls, including a 2-for-2 performance and a fourth place finish in Worcester, to move up to 45th place in the world standings.
He's about 350 points shy of moving up another 15 spots to assure himself a place on the BFTS. However, he's just looking to chip away at the gap the next couple weeks before he competes in Arlington, Texas, at the Iron Cowboy IV.
"It's definitely a great opportunity to make the points that I need to get back," he said, "but whether it's a Touring Pro or a Built Ford Tough I always want to get my bulls rode."
Meier, who finished fifth in the standings last season, is among the eight riders who will receive a first-round bye in the bracket-style tournament format and is guaranteed that place in the draw based on last year's final standings.
He said he hadn't even thought about the Texas event until he received a call from the PBR early this week.
Naturally, it "pumped" him up.
Meier said he mechanically feels better than he has going back to late last season, and definitely feels good about how he rode last weekend, especially after spending a few days during the week training with Justin McDaniels.
The two have been training on his Mighty Bucky and studying videos, which is something Meier said he hasn't done with anyone since before coming on the BFTS.
Since before he was cut, he said his focus has been on finessing his technique.
This weekend, he'll be at a two-day TPD event in Portland, Ore. If he happens to win he'll be in the Kansas City draw next week, but if not, he's entered in other TPD events a few weeks out. In fact, he'll be in Mobile, Ala., the night before the Iron Cowboy IV.
"Whether it's me or a new kid with a week-old card, you (have) to just keep chipping away at them," Meier said. "Whether it's an 81 or a 91, every score counts and every score helps."
He's learned a few lessons this past weekend.
One, he said he worked hard to get the scores he earned in Ohio and Massachusetts and that it was a good test to see where he's at and what he needs to continue working on. Two, the key at TPD events is placing high enough in the average to earn bonus points.
Right now he's simply trying to gather points.
"It's a little different look at things when you're there because you have to versus you choose to," Meier said. "I didn't place high, but I got scores."
Prior to the season, Meier said he planned to go hard this season and that remains his plan.
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC
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