The Vikings added to their cushion by winning the Troy (Ala.) rodeo on Nov. 16-18, their third win in five outings during the fall semester. Valley beat chief challenger Tennessee-Martin for the title, 800 to 500 points, and now enjoys a margin of 3,605 to 2,795 points over the Skyhawks.
The Vikings claimed winners in four events, not including the overall cowboy title won by sophomore Ben Runyon of Tallula, Ill., which contributed 330 points to the team total.
Runyon and Southern Arkansas' Justin Johnson took first place in team roping, logging times of 6.7 seconds in both rounds to win the overall by 8.9 seconds. Runyon also placed second in calf roping.
Senior Tanner Aus of Granite Falls, Minn., the reserve bareback riding champion at last year's College National Finals Rodeo, took first place in that event at Troy and currently ranks second in the NIRA national standings.
Senior Will Crain of Farina, Ill., scored an 82 in the long "go" of bull riding, and that held up through a second round in which rough stock won out.
Also picking up a win was sophomore Hunter Lewis of Springdale, Ark., in steer wrestling, but he wasn't on Valley's official entry list so his 180 points were left on the table.
The Vikings got second-place performances from junior Jordan Corrigan in saddle bronc riding, his second in the short and first in the long go good for 160 points, and non-roster senior Mason Ormesher in bull riding.
The Valley women got 90 of their 93.3 points, putting them in a tie for sixth place, during the long go of breakaway roping -- when sophomore Shyanne Masters came in second and sophomore Taylor McGrath finished fourth.
In the breakaway overall, freshman Hilton Peeples and sophomore Jessie Blackburn wound up third and fourth, but their combined 140 points didn't count toward the team tally.
Southern Arkansas took the women's crown to increase its lead over Troy to 1,260 to 1,035 points for the season, with the Lady Vikings in fourth place at 706.66.
The spring semester of the season gets under way Feb. 23-25 at the Cossatot Community College Rodeo in Texarkana, Ark.