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A lot can be accomplished on bended knees

4/12/2006

(April 12, 2006) — To be honest, I don't know what I would be doing if I weren't riding bulls. The good Lord blesses me every day with talent, ability and opportunities, and I am staying focused and having an awesome year.

I was up last at a small bull riding event close to home that a good friend of mine, Kevin Liederme, produces called the Super Bull Tour. I was the only one to cover two bulls and I won $2,000. My dad, Lonnie, got to watch me since it was close to home. I always love that when he can come. He joked and said that was not a bad day's work — only a 30-minute drive from home.

I am also really excited that I qualified for the Pace Picante Chute-Out. This is my first year to go and I am looking forward to that weekend (May 12-14, 2006). Hopefully, with the Xtreme Bulls and the Tour finale, I will be able to ride five or six bulls.

Plus, it's close to home and my family can come.

I was up in Laughlin, Nev., and drew Beuford of Hal Burns Rodeo Co. He is usually an awesome bull. I had seen him before and was excited to have him, but he had an off day and I was only 73 on him. I didn't make any money there, but we hung out in Vegas for several days before we headed to Logandale, Nev. I found out that I drew a bull that I probably wasn't going to make any money on there, so I turned out and went home. It's a good thing too, because I was able to go to the bull riding close to home and win some money.

Man, you know I love being on the road rodeoing. When I am rodeoing, I am making money, but when I am sitting at home, I'm usually spending it.

I will try to hit over 100 rodeos this year and we usually take my Dodge truck because I hate to fly. My friend, Brad Knowles, who is known as B-Rad drives for us. He is always funny.

I travel right now with Clayton Williams. Clayton is an up-and-coming bull rider who I'm certain will one day be a world champion.

My biggest competitors on the circuit right now are the bulls and myself. Bull riding is a mind game. You compete with yourself and you only have yourself to beat. If you don't let things like built-up pressure, or how good the bull is, or even how good you are get to you, then you can control the game.

The bulls have just as much power as I do in getting the score. They have to perform well and I have to perform well to get a good score. I can't compete with the other bull riders unless I get a good score.

I sit down every year and plan out the goals that will make me a better person and a better Christian. I even frame them and hang them up so I can see what I have to get done. I figure you always have to have something to shoot for when you set a goal.

My personal goal all year is to be happy because that's all a person can ask for. I wake up excited each morning and know I have a lot to be thankful for. I have buddies who wake up mad and disgusted and they stay that way all day. I try to be thankful and happy for everything the Lord gives me. No matter how bad it is, there is always something to be thankful for. Life is how you make it, fun or boring, and I try to make it great.

I was lucky enough to have grown up in a Christian family. I thank the Lord every day for everything I have. After I ride each bull, I kneel down and pray in the arena. I do that to thank the Lord and to hopefully touch someone watching who doesn't know the Lord. If someone sees me — viewed as a tough bull rider — kneeling down giving thanks, then maybe that will touch them in some way.

In high school, I got off track in life. I was wild. But one day, I came to a realization with myself and God. It hit me hard too. It changed everything around and things started happening in my life. Good things started to take place. I figure if I can kneel down and touch one person's life by bringing them to Christ, then I have accomplished a great thing.

I am up next at Corpus Christi, Texas, then on to Red Bluff, Calif., and then to the Xtreme Bulls in Clovis, Calif.

In 2005, Matt Austin shattered the PRCA record for highest single-season earnings with $320,766, surpassing Ty Murray's record of $297,896 set in 1993. Austin not only won the College National Finals Rodeo and the Xtreme Bulls title last year, but also earned his first bull riding world championship and Wrangler NFR average title. Nicknamed "Poindexter" by Donnie Gay, Austin lives in Wills Point, Texas.

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