By: Kristian Limas
December 05, 2016
HIDALGO, Texas – Matt Triplett is no stranger to racking up frequent flyer miles over the course of his bull riding adventures. Fresh off a trip to Australia, where he picked up two wins, Triplett made the trip to deep South Texas to compete at the Hidalgo, Texas, Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event this past weekend.
Triplett’s trip abroad not only got him a leg up heading into the start of the 2017 season, but it was also good vacation that helped clear his head in preparation for the start of the Built Ford Tough Series.
The BFTS begins with the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden in New York City on Jan. 6-8.
“To be able to go tour Australia and see all the beautiful scenery, I got to go to the ocean and got to go to Magnetic Island and ride scooters all day was so fun,” Triplett said. “Just the opportunity to get to go to Australia and get points to get a jump on the 2017 world standings is huge.”
Triplett spent most of his November trekking across Australia competing at the Tamworth Invitational, PBR Australia Iron Cowboy and the Brendon Clark Invitational.
The Columbia Falls, Montana, bull rider dominated down under, going 6-for-8 and picking up event wins in Tamworth and the Brendon Clark Invitational.
The last win was especially memorable for Triplett, who looked up to Clark.
“It was a true honor to win the Brendon Clark Invitational,” Triplett said. “I had the privilege to ride with that guy and watched him during his career. I looked up to that guy and he was a good role model.”
The trip has become a bit of a tradition for Triplett, who competed in Australia in 2015 and went on to finish fifth in the world standings that year.
The 2016 season, though, was a struggle for Triplett. Multiple major injuries kept him out for the majority of the season and derailed his world title aspirations.
It was a season that Triplett wants to put behind him as quickly as possible, and given how much the Australia trip helped him in 2015, he’s hoping it will give him that same magic in 2017.
“I could have stayed here, but it’s fun to go to another country where you can go against different bull riders, different bulls and just see where your level is internationally,” Triplett said. “It was just fun to meet good people, get on good bulls and get treated well.”
Triplett has earned belt buckles from Australia, Canada and the United States. Like a well-worn passport, he sees no reason why he can’t round out his collection with more international buckles.
He is still missing a buckle from Brazil, and given his connections to the Brazilian stars of the PBR, it’s not something that is out of the question.
“I was thinking about going to Brazil and trying to get one there just to say that I did,” Triplett said. “Some of my buddies like Silvano (Alves) and Adriano Moraes, they’ve all told me I need to come down there and check it out. Douglas Duncan has gone down there quite a bit and he’s told me it’s been a blast.
“I think you got to try every country once, just to say you’ve done it.”
His focus, though, is on the Built Ford Tough Series and making a push for the 2017 World Championship.
Triplett has managed to keep his spirits high even though 2016 became such a trying year. He believes in seeing everything as a learning opportunity. This notion even extends to his injuries, which has taught him to focus heavily on training and recovery.
One technique Triplett has put an added focus on is participating in cryotherapy sessions.
“Cryotherapy is a huge thing I’ve always done, but this year I took it to a whole new level. After my surgeries, it helped the process with my healing because it helps with inflammation and sends new blood through your whole body,” Triplett said. “It feels like putting a new battery in a car. You just work better and feel better. It’s just everything a good bull rider needs to get ready for the next week and I’m mixing it with yoga so I’m getting the best of both worlds.”
Triplett has always been an advocate for yoga being central to a bull rider’s training, and he claims he has ramped up his training in preparation for the return of the BFTS season.
“I’ve been stretching and getting limber, then I head to the ice machine and start all over,” Triplett said. “It’s been awesome to find the tools to get my body ready. NFL and basketball guys are all doing cryotherapy so why not bull riders?”
Triplett fully believes that, as an athlete, you can’t limit yourself when it comes to finding something that may give you an edge.
More importantly, though, Triplett wants to make sure he remains healthy. The hardest part of 2016 was missing out on so much time. The desire to get back on tour as quickly as possible lit a fire under Triplett and his renewed sense of vigor is evident in everything from his body language to his speech.
He feels he’s ready to go.
“My injuries were huge for me because I don’t really like sitting out, it’s hard to bear. I had to sit out for 12 months and it was a big learning opportunity for me,” Triplett said. “I learned patience and how to not take things for granted and work really hard, harder than I ever have.
“I’ve always been one to work really hard, but I’ve pushed myself to the limit, and I’m pushing myself even harder now to prepare myself for this year.”
Hidalgo was his first competition in the U.S. since returning from Australia and he went 1-for-2, placing 20th overall. It was not a highlight-reel finish, Triplett knows getting another ride down and staying healthy is better than anything at this early point in the season.
He is next set to compete this coming Saturday at the Biloxi, Mississippi, Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event at 7 p.m. CT.
“A healthy Matt Triplett is a dangerous Matt Triplett,” Triplett concluded.
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