Vikings declared Ozark Region champs

Monday, March 23, 2020
Valley junior Roy Lee was the top calf roper and all-around cowboy reserve champion in the NIRA Ozark Region. (Dan Hubbell/NIRA)

The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association has named the Missouri Valley College men's and women's teams as the Ozark Region champions for the truncated 2019-2020 season.

The final three of the regular season's 10 rodeos were cancelled Friday by the NIRA in response to the coronavirus pandemic, although this summer's College National Finals Rodeo remains on the schedule until further notice.

With four championships and two second-place finishes, the Valley men won its fourth straight regional title -- and 10th since 2008 -- by a margin of 4,420 to 3,910 points over Tennessee-Martin. The Lady Vikings claimed the crown for the fourth time in the last six years, edging out East Mississippi Community College, 1,760 to 1,625 points.

Two MVC men placed first in their events. Junior Trey Watts of Williamsport, Pa., tallied 850 points in saddle bronc riding and junior Roy Lee of Benton, Ark., topped tie-down roping with 540 points. Coming in fourth in steer wrestling with 310 points allowed Lee to become the all-around cowboy reserve champion with 865 points, trailing only West Alabama senior Ryder Ladner's 1,315 points.

The Vikings had three second-place performers. Sophomore Chance Masters of Leon, Iowa, had 740 points in saddle bronc riding, junior Kolten Achenbach of Boscopel, Wis., scored 300 points in bull riding and sophomore Cale Johnson of Osseo, Mich., garnered 445 points as a team roping heeler.

The top three positions in the standings qualify for the CNFR in their individual events, with junior Jesse Pope achieving that objective with 865 points for third place in bareback riding. That would give Valley the maximum of six entries that could be counted toward team points at the national meet.

Watts tied for sixth place in saddle bronc at last year's CNFR and Pope was sixth in bareback. Lee and Achenbach also competed a year ago.

Sophomore Cheyenne Anderson of Palmyra was the Lady Vikings only champion, with 515 points in goat tying. However, by winning the team title, Valley can have four entries, but can enter up to four contestants if they meet the top 5/top 30% standard.

The CNFR is currently scheduled for June 14-20 at the Casper, Wyo.

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