By: Justin Felisko
November 10, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – Nevada Newman spent 2016 climbing aboard the rankest bulls in the world – some weighing over 2,000 pounds – after making his Built Ford Tough Series debut with a monumental 87.75-point ride on Mississippi Hippy in February.
Still, Newman will be shaking in his swim trunks when he goes surfing this weekend after the PBR Australia Tamworth Invitational in New South Wales, Australia.
“I like to surf, but I am scared of sharks,” Newman said nervously. “I just don’t want to be eaten by sharks. I don’t know. They freaking bite your legs off. A bull may break your leg, but he won’t bite it off.”
Regardless of his fear of sharks, Newman is looking forward to competing in the three PBR Australia Cup Series events this month. Following the Tamworth Invitational, Newman will compete at the PBR Australia Iron Cowboy (Townsville, Australia) on Nov. 18-19 and the Brendon Clark Invitational (Newcastle, Australia) on Nov. 26.
This will be Newman’s first international trip outside of competing in PBR Canada and Canadian Pro Rodeo events.
PBR Australia invited Newman to compete in their summer series of events with the Built Ford Tough Series on break until January.
Newman’s father, T.J., is actually good friends with PBR Australia General Manager Glen Young, who contacted T.J. with the idea of getting Nevada to the Land Down Under.
T.J. and Young attended Miles City Community College together in Miles City, Montana.
“Glen seen I was on tour and Facebooked my parents and said, ‘Why you don’t you have your boy come over here and get on some bulls and stuff. I was like well I better go.”
Nevada compared going to Australia to that of a baseball player attending Major League Baseball Spring Training.
“I think so,” Newman agreed. “Just get away and get out of the country. It will be almost like a vacation. “Go on vacation, go home for a month off and by New York time I will be ready to kickass.
Nevada reached out to his good friend Matt Triplett, who competed in Australia two years ago, for some advice about the trip.
“He said it was awesome,” Newman said. “The benefits of the travel part. He said the bulls are good. We are not getting on high-caliber bulls. We are just getting on good average bulls.”
Newman concluded 2016 34th in the world standings and will have five guaranteed BFTS events to begin the 2017 campaign.
The 24-year-old admits he went through the standard ups-and-downs that many first-year riders go through on the BFTS.
Newman was 9-for-56 (16.07 percent) in 22 Built Ford Tough Series events.
He made his BFTS debt with that memorable ride on Mississippi Hippy and was the first rider since Douglas Duncan to win a round with his first career ride by covering Ante Up for 88.25 points.
However, Newman went the next seven months unable to put two rides together in an event until he went 2-for-3 at the regular-season finale in Tucson, Arizona.
“I feel like I have to go to Australia,” Newman said. “If I ended up in the Top 10, yeah I wouldn’t have gone. I blame myself. I made rookie mistakes. I need to go to Australia and secure my spot (on the BFTS). Cover my bulls.”
Winners of PBR Australia Cup events earn 80 world points just like Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour winners.
Newman, who went 0-for-5 at the World Finals, is hoping to work on a few things in Australia in preparation for 2017. He wants to improve his chute procedure, as well try to correct his free arm position that he successful improved on in Tucson before reverting back to old habits in Las Vegas.
“Just stupid stuff,” Newman said about his mistakes. “I will get in the chute and sometimes I will have a brain fart. Cody Lambert told me this multiple times. I will hang on to the chute way high and that is the first place I go (with my free arm then). I need to drop. The bull does something stupid in there and I will lose my train of thought and grab the rail not thinking. I need to work on small chute procedure stuff like that.
“My motor gets running so much here. It is easy for a guy’s motor to get running at a BFTS. It is getting better. I am getting way more comfortable than I was when I first came.”
Triplett had a similar motor during his first two seasons on tour before finding a way to channel his emotions.
Newman hopes he can do the same and have a much-improved
“This is part of bull riding,” Newman said. “I feel like I am getting on enough bulls now. I feel like I am about to have my damn breakthrough. I just have to keep getting on. I am starting to feel good. Everything is kind of starting to click. Everything is starting to feel better. I am just waiting for that one ride.”
Newman later concluded, “I just went to my first World Finals. Next year I will be ready for anything. I am not worried about anything else.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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