It didn't take Austin Meier long to fill his PRCA permit.
One week after launching his PRCA career, the bull rider from Checotah, Okla., dominated the Tuff Hedeman Louisiana Shoot-Out (Jan. 7-8) in Bossier City, La.
Meier posted a 90.5-point score aboard Guidry Rodeo's bull Roscoe to win the first round and came back with a 91-point ride on Andrews Rodeo's bull Slim to capture the final round, en route to taking the aggregate title with a two-head total of 181.5 points.
All totaled, Meier won $35,750 easily filling his permit — and become the most successful permit holder in PRCA history. It was a late but welcome birthday present for Meier, who turned 18 on Jan. 5.
About the only downer for Meier in the deal was that, because Meier was a permit holder, the money doesn't count toward the Jack Daniel's World Standings.
"That was disappointing," Meier said.
The good news is that every dollar Meier wins from now on (now that he won the required $1,000 to fill his permit) will count toward the world standings, and Meier has big plans.
"The way I look at it, there are five more of these Tuff Hedeman deals and if I can do well at them, I'll get some big checks," Meier said. "I'm going to enter as much as I can. It's hard to get entered your first year, but you can't get in if you don't enter."
Meier's goal is to earn a ticket to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, set for Dec. 2-11 in Las Vegas.
While Meier is new to the PRCA, he isn't new to rodeo or bull riding.
My whole family has been in rodeo," Meier said. "Rusty Patrick, who won the bull riding title at Cheyenne a couple of years ago is my cousin."
Meier began riding bulls when he was 6 and he has experienced steady success since. He was competitive as a junior rodeo competitor. In high school, he was the Oklahoma state reserve champion and finished 13th in the National High School Finals Rodeo. He earned honors at amateur rodeos and at other, lower-level professional circuits.
"I was planning on buying my PRCA permit this year, anyway," Meier said. "It just worked out with the Tuff Hedeman deal being when it was."
And what did Meier do with his big payday?
"I put some money away," Meier said. "My dad and I raise cattle. I'm going to take some of the money and buy a couple of heifers and get some top-ranked bulls to cover them."
The Bossier City event marked the first time the Tuff Hedeman series had been sanctioned by the PRCA. It attracted a top-caliber field and played to big crowds.
The rodeo marked the return of 2003 World Bull Riding Champion Terry Don West to competition. West injured his thumb during the 10th round of the 2003 Wrangler NFR and sat out all of 2004. The field also included 2004 World Champion Bull Rider Dustin Elliott.
D.J. Domangue finished second in the aggregate with a two-head total of 177.5 and Jarrod Ford was third at 177.
Domangue finished second in total money won at the event with $17,750. Ford was third at $14,375. West and Matt Austin tied for fourth with $8,125 each.