Cory Solomon, Calgary Stampede, July 2016. Photo by Terry Middleditch, Rodeo Country Radio
Brett Hoffman, Rodeo Writer
The Athens Review
Cory Solomon knows way more than he’d like to about barely missing the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
In 2013 and 2014, he finished 16th in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s tie-down roping world standings, one slot away from qualifying for the Las Vegas championships.
But last year, Solomon roped in lots of cash early in the season and never looked back. When the 2015 regular season concluded on Sept. 30, Solomon had earned his third NFR back number in five years.
Solomon, 26, who is from Prairie View, is expected to repeat this season. Last week, Solomon won the tie-down roping title at the Wrangler Champions Challenge tour stop in Pueblo, Colorado, after turning in a time of 8.7 seconds.
He is ranked sixth in this week’s PRCA’s tie-down roping standings as the result of earning $71,830 this year, which should be more than enough to qualify for the 2016 National Finals (scheduled for Dec. 1-10 at Las Vegas’ Thomas & Mack Center).
After missing the NFR in both 2013 and 2014, Solomon made sure it didn’t happen again last year. Solomon finished in the money an early season winter rodeo in Fort Worth. During the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo last year, Solomon tied for fourth in the first round with a 9.1 ($3,282 in earnings). He also tied for third in the second round with an 8.5 ($4,070).
Three weeks later, Solomon won the 2015 San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo and earned $23,458.
“I attacked early last year and didn’t wait until the end of the season,” Solomon said. “I treated the first rodeo like it was my last rodeo. I went at it hard early.”
After roping aggressively throughout the year, Solomon finished in the top 15 in the world standings in tie-down roping, which was the criterion for qualifying for the National Finals. Solomon earned $50,769 during the 10 NFR performances last December. He finished the year ranked 12th with $143,251 in earnings.
Solomon has maintained strong momentum throughout the 2016 regular season.
His stellar performances at two prominent late August rodeos in Colorado and California are prime examples of his determination to earn a trip to the 2016 NFR. In addition to winning the Aug. 31 Wrangler Champions Challenge in Pueblo ($3,944 in prize money), he also won the Aug. 27-28 Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo in San Juan Capistrano, California ($7,501).
On the Professional Bull Riders circuit, 2008 world champion Guilherme Marchi clinched the title at last weekend’s Built Ford Tough Series tour stop at Thackerville, Oklahoma. He was the only competitor who stayed on all three bulls throughout the two-day show that concluded Sunday night.
Marchi clinched the title at the WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational after turning in a final round score of 86.5 point ride aboard a bull named What’s Under Your Hood (owned by Hart Cattle Co./Switchouse Ranch).
After going 3-for-3, Marchi has a total of 564 qualified rides on the Ford Series. He is the PBR’s all-time leader in qualified rides on the association’s top tier tour.
Marchi clinched the title at the Thackerville tour stop after earning 550 points throughout the Labor Day Weekend show. He is ranked 17th in the world title race with 1,447.50 points earned throughout the regular season.
Cooper Davis of Jasper finished second at the Thackerville show after earning 322.5 points. Davis is ranked No. 1 in the world title race with 3,567.50 points.
Kaique Pacheco, who finished third at the Thackerville tour stop, is ranked second with 3,547.83, just 19.67 points behind Davis. Defending world champion J.B. Mauney is ranked third with 2,912.5.
The Thackerville show was the 19th stop on the 2016 BFTS schedule.
This weekend, the tour stops in Springfield, Missouri. The world title race will conclude at the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas, which is scheduled for Nov. 2-6 at Las Vegas’ new T-Mobile Arena.
He said it
“You try to raise your son to be as good as he can be and do the right things. Then when you get the opportunity to rope with him, it's a neat experience. We try to compete on a level where we can win some money and win some rodeos. Then, when we get out of the arena, we're father and son." --56-year-old team roping header J.D. Yates telling the Pueblo Chieftain what it's like to rope with 21-year-old son Trey Yates.
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has written a rodeo column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram over the past quarter-century. Email him at email@example.com.