HEMPSTEAD, Texas – Over the course of his career, Cory Solomon has qualified for the National Finals Rodeo six times and has proven the rodeo talent available in Waller County, Texas.
Each fall, he returns home to be part of the region’s best exposition, the Waller County Fair and Rodeo, just a few miles from his Prairie View, Texas, home. On the first full weekend of October, he did it in fine form, winning the Tie-Down Roping Eliminator Challenge for the second time in the event’s seven-year history.
“Every year, we follow Cory closely through the rodeo season,” said Matt Hyatt, president of the Waller County Fair Association. “Last year, injuries left him out of the NFR, and this year he made a heck of a run at qualifying again and finished 16th in the standings, just one spot out of making it.
“I’m sure that was disappointing, but he never showed it once he got here. He definitely put on a show during our Eliminator, and he’s always a contender to win that thing. It’s great to see that he was able to pull off another victory.”
His best season was nine years ago, when he finished third in the world standings, but he’s had an amazing career since he first stepped onto the scene in 2008. He’s also a two-time winner of the $100,000-shootout round at the prestigious Calgary (Alberta) Stampede. Through all that success, he remains humble and always enjoys competing in front of his home county.
“It’s people like Cory who make our fair and rodeo a hidden gem of Waller County,” said Clint Sciba, co-chairman of the WCFA’s rodeo committee. “We take a lot of pride in the rodeo events we put on, and Cory’s one of those guys you can always count on to be part of what we’re doing.”
The rodeo action was highlighted by two 90-point bareback rides. Bill Tutor, a two-time NFR qualifier from nearby Huntsville, Texas, rodeo Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Exotic Dancer for 90 points to share the victory with Leighton Berry, who rodeo Carr’s Fancy Free for the same score. Berry is heading to ProRodeo’s grand championship for the first time in December.
In addition, two-time PBR world champion JB Mauney shared the bull riding title after matching moves with Lancaster & Jones Pro Rodeo’s White Walker for 89 points. He matched the score put on by Clayton Sellars, who rode Carr’s Royal Reel to his share of the crown.
Other winners four other NFR qualifiers, steer wrestler Jacob Edler, tie-down roper Hunter Herrin and team ropers Dustin Egusquiza and Travis Graves. Tony Reina, a five-time National Finals Steer Roping qualifier who also made the NFR once in tie-down roping, won the steer roping crown.
“We were very pleased with the way things went, especially in such a tough year with the pandemic,” Hyatt said. “I’m proud of our rodeo committee with what all they’ve done to produce great events throughout the week of our fair and rodeo. We provide VIP treatment to our contestants, and they showed up in big numbers again this year.
“We’ve got a great stock contractor in Pete Carr, who gives us great animals and a great production every night. We’ve got an easy-to-see video board and an NFR announcer in Andy Steward, and we had the eight-time PRCA Clown of the Year in Justin Rumford. The biggest thing was we had some great community sponsors who made this fair and rodeo happen, and we as a board are happy to support what we had in 2020.”