More from The Q&A: Austin Meier
Bull riding might not be as big as, say, football or basketball in the sports hierarchy.
That isn’t for lack of personality in the sport’s stars.
I had a chance to chat with Austin Meier a few days before this weekend’s Professional Bull Riders tour event began at the Ford Center. The Checotah native turned Kinta resident is one bull riding’s rising talents, but despite his winnings, he was as genuine and affable as could be.
You’ll want to check out my Q&A with Meier on Saturday’s Page 2, but before you do, here’s more from my interview:
Jenni Carlson: Whenever I interview bull riders, I always ask what your wife thinks about your profession, but I know your wife is a barrel racer and has been around rodeoing. So, what does she think?
Austin Meier: She worries about it a lot. Just like at Tampa, I had a little wreck. It worries her. She’s everything I could ever ask for. There’s a lot of girls out there that it seems like when things are great, they’re all for it, but when things ain’t, they’re ready to hit the road. I think she seen real quick what bull riding could hold. The first month she was with me, I got my face stepped on and got to get plates and screws put in both sides of my jaw. That was a real test for her, and it showed her true colors to me. Never once did she bat an eye at whether she still wanted to be with me. Like I said, it worries her. She knows it’s dangerous. Since I’ve been with her, there’s been kids who’ve been killed doing it, but she knows that’s what I do for a living and that’s what allows us to have some of the nice things we do. But I know we both look forward to when I get to be home.
JC: You wear a helmet when you ride. That’s a hot-button issue — to wear or not to wear?
AM: My cousin Rusty Patrick was one of the first guys. He started, and then, me seeing him, I sort of wondered about it. I figured, “Well, when I start riding bulls, I’ll put one on.” Well, I started riding and didn’t put one on, then I had a bull run over the top of me and scuff my head up. I put a helmet on, and it’s something that has never bothered me. I played football and baseball, and I was a catcher in baseball, so having a helmet has never bothered me. It’s probably saved my life a few times.
JC: Do you wonder about guys who don’t wear one?
AM: I do. I had a buddy of mine, Ryan McConnel, got hit in the face (last) weekend. It didn’t mess him up, but it dang sure didn’t make him look too pretty. Had he had a helmet on, he wouldn’t have got a concussion, a cut, nothing. It’s times like that, I’m like, “Man, guys, if you all just put helmets on, you wouldn’t have to be getting stitches.”
JC: People will still think of you as tough guys even if you wear helmets.
AM: That’s right.
JC: You’re on a bull in the chute right before they open the gate — what is going through your mind?
AM: Most of the time when it’s go time, it’s just ride the bull. Don’t try to set any plans. Sometimes, it just seems like there’s a real peace over you. Other times, it’s like, “All right, it’s time to step up.” It’s kind of like when I had Big Bucks the first time. He’s a world champion bull. Only two guys had rode him. It’s time like that when you’re revved up and it’s time to bear down and get it done.
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