|Austin Meier of Kinta, Oklahoma rides Grand Slam through this stumble out of the chute to a win in the bullriding event Friday at the Stampede Grounds. (MIKE DREW/QMI Agency)
CALGARY - Austin Meier’s day went from good to great pretty fast.
The Kinta, Okla., bullrider was content with his 87-point ride, figuring he’d grab a decent chunk of change.
Originally, former Stampede champion J.B. Mauney was given an 87.5 to top the charts. But after getting the math straightened out, Meier was upgraded to 88 and told he topped Round 1.
“I don’t know,” Meier said of the confusion. “I was just back there doing my thing, fixing to get changed and they came running back there. It was a heck of a surprise.”
The 25-year-old said it felt good to jump-start his week with a $5,500 cheque.
“It’s really important to get off to a good start,” he said. “If you don’t, and you do your job, you can come back because of the money that’s available at the Stampede.
“But if you can start on a good note, it makes it that much easier.”
After a less-than-smooth start aboard Kesler’s Grand Slam, Meier said the beast did its job.
“That was a great bull of Kesler’s,” he said. “I heard good things about him.
“He stumbled right out of the gate. When a bull does that, you can’t really think, you gotta just keep going with him and don’t panic.
“But after he stumbled, he stepped up and did his job.”
Meier has enjoyed a productive summer to this point.
The 5-foot-11, 165-pounder sits in eighth spot with $148,535 in his pocket.
“It’s been a really good year,” he said. “I’ve been so fortunate to stay healthy.
“The last couple of years, I’ve been banged up during the summer. But staying healthy has allowed me to compete. I’m not in the No.-1 spot in the PBR, but I’m working on it.
“The biggest thing any of us bullriders can ask for, as with any athlete, is to stay healthy. It makes a big difference when you can have the ball rolling. Then you can come up to a huge event like the Calgary Stampede and keep the ball rolling.”
Meier likely won’t be blowing his newest cheque on any frivolous purchase this week.
“I put it in the bank and let it salt,” he said. “I’m a big money-saver.”
But if he gets his hands on that $100,000 at the end of the week, he admits he’ll part with a few bucks.
“Maybe I’d actually get that deck built on my house that I’ve been wanting to put on.”
On Twitter: @SUNScottFisher