By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Troy Solomon is excited for the unexpected.
The Havre native rode his way to the 51st Annual College National Finals Rodeo, which will be held June 12-17, at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds in Casper, Wyo.
"I don't really know what to expect," Solomon said.
Solomon is a junior at MSU-Bozeman, majoring in electrical engineering.
Possibly, he could be majoring in rodeo with an emphasis in engineering.
He is ranked fourth in the Big Sky Region in bareback riding with 305 points. He will participate in the bareback event at the finals.
The event will play host to more than 340 competitors from 11 regions, including 135 colleges, throughout the nation.
Throughout the season, Solomon scored 138 points at the Northern Montana College rodeo and he scored 141 points at the MSU rodeo, where he placed fourth.
A rider earns different points, depending on where he places. For example, first place would receive 40 points and second place would receive 30 points.
The top two finishers in each event per region qualify, as well as the top two teams.
MSU-Bozeman is currently ranked second in the Big Sky Region as a team.
Also this season, Solomon qualified for the NRA finals in February.
And in high school, as a member of the Havre High School rodeo team, he placed ninth in the bareback at the high school finals rodeo.
"This is pretty much like any other rodeo," Solomon said. "You've just got to ride the animal."
However, the biggest difference will be stock quality and the number of participants.
"All the colleges competing are a lot bigger," Solomon said. "The stock should be a lot better. The score depends on how good the animal is, too."
Jake Hayworth, who won the regional bareback title, will be on-hand at the rodeo.
Bozeman's Kagan Sirrieut, who is ranked fifth in the world in bull riding, will also be competing at the rodeo.
The slack rounds will be held Monday and Tuesday, and Solomon will compete in go-rounds on Wednesday and Thursday.
The top 12 will advance to the short-go on Saturday.