SAN DIEGO – Sometimes you just have to take your own advice.
Skeeter Kingsolver did just that on Saturday night to win the BlueDEF Velocity Tour event in San Diego, going 2-for-2 at the Valley View Casino Center.
Whenever the 25-year-old helps put on bull riding schools, he always tells kids that bull riding starts with going after every bull you attempt wholeheartedly, and to not get frustrated when things don’t go your way.
If you do that, he says, you will have a chance at succeeding.
Kingsolver is hoping to use that same mentality to make his way back to the Built Ford Tough Series full time in 2015 after competing in a combined eight BFTS events the past three years.
“I know my abilities,” Kingsolver said. “There is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do this each and every weekend. I know my job is to ride my bulls, but showing up and doing it is another thing. I’m going to have a different mindset for 2015.”
Kingsolver was the only rider to make the 8-second mark two times on Saturday and surged into the lead in the 10-man championship round by conquering Woody for 85.5 points. Kingsolver exited the left side bucking chutes in solid control of Julio Moreno’s bull, before Woody tried to turn back and dislodge the McLouth, Kansas, bull rider to no avail.
“When that short round comes around, that is where they pay you,” he said. “You need to stay calm, cool and collected. That’s what I did today and it paid off.
“He was a really good bull. I mean, I couldn’t have asked for a better bull in this short round. This short round was dang sure tough.”
He barely even had the chance to go for the win, following his 78-point ride on Choctaw in the first round. However, the score was just enough to get him into the final round and the nine riders that followed Kingsolver all bucked off.
“That bull (Choctaw) got me warmed up for that last one,” Kingsolver added.
Sean Peterson (Get Moe), Ben Jones (Merlot Man) tied for the Round 1 win with 86.5 points apiece.
However, Peterson (Mr. Mustachio) and Jones (Oreo Blast) were no match for their championship round bulls.
Rounding out the Top 5 was Thad Newell in fourth place with 86 points on Straggler and Jorge Valdiviczo with 85.5 points aboard Black Ninja.
It is Kingsolver’s first event since taking the victory at the Touring Pro Division event in Saginaw, Michigan, in March. Kingsolver went 3-for-3 to win that event.
“It’s been dang sure too long. I know that,” he said.
The Saginaw win earned him a spot in the draw at the BFTS event in Tacoma, Washington – which was his only appearance on the BFTS during the 2014 season.
Kingsolver’s best year on the PBR’s main tour came in 2010 when he finished 15th in the world standings by setting career-highs in events (27), rides (34), Top 5s (3) and Top 10s (7).
He competed in another 18 BFTS events the following year and placed 30th in the world.
Kingsolver said he knows he can make it back to the BFTS, but that doesn’t make it any easier being away from his friends on tour.
“This is what I love to do,” he said. “If I get to show up and ride bulls every day, I am a happy man. Bull riding is not really tough, but when you get in slumps, you tend to overthink everything and you just have to keep a simple mind about it. If you can keep your mental focus on just that, you will be just fine.”
He admitted that during the past three seasons, he would tend to get too frustrated when he would buck off or start to struggle. Kingsolver is hoping a stronger mental mindset at events will help him bounce back from those moments when things aren’t going his way in the arena.
“Whenever I was younger, I would catch myself getting really worked up and just letting myself get that way,” he explained. “I am not saying I won’t in the future or what not, but it is definitely a sport where you have to focus on the mental toughness and block out those other things.”
Kingsolver is going to spend this week working with Gary Leffew in Nipomo, California, before competing at the BlueDEF Velocity Tour event next Saturday in Ontario, California. The action can be seen live on PBR LIVE, beginning at 10 p.m. ET.
“If I keep riding bulls like that, yeah I will be on tour,” he concluded. “But, for now, it is one bull at a time. I just need to keep it rolling.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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