BIOG: NAME: UPD: 19961212 -TEXT-
Ember Givens sat in the State Fair Arena stands, watching rider after rider bolt from the gate and return sporting a time slower than her's.
Givens, riding Jet A Beam, earned a $1,679.04 paycheck for 15.457 seconds of work. Her win came in the first go-round of the Derby at the 11th Annual World Championship Barrel Racing Futurity, Sweepstakes and Derby at State Fair Arena.
It marked her first Derby win in Oklahoma City.
"It feels good," Givens said. "I was hoping, but I didn't know if I would do good. I just tried to be smooth, calm and focused. If I move a lot, it scares her, so I have to be quiet.
'Jet A Beam is consistent and she tries hard. She gave me a really smooth ride today. Once you are smooth, the time comes. Being smooth comes from calmness, being ready and focused. When you're smooth, you're fast."
Oddly enough, Jet A Beam might feel more at home in the fairgrounds than Givens.
"I got her two years ago when I was in Oklahoma City," Givens said. "She likes this pen really well."
Jet A Beam, a six-year-old mare of Jet Of Honor, was trained by Ed and Martha Wright.
"I call her 'Reba' because she's a red head from Oklahoma," Givens said.
An owner of five horses, Givens will ride Jet A Beam's half-sister, Elvira, an eight-year-old mare, in the Sweepstakes.
Derby entries are limited to five or six-year-old horses, while the Sweepstakes entries can be any age.
"I've been riding since I was seven," Givens said. "Mom and Dad got me into it. The whole family rides."
Ember's mother, Lana Givens, is in 18th place in the Women's Professional Rodeo standings.
Givens complemented the event and the fairgrounds staff.
"The conditions are so good here," she said. "The ground crew always does a really good here."
Bobbi Steenbergen said, "The grounds are part of the show, If there's no good ground, you don't have good barrel runs."
Steenbergen, director of metropolitan events/agriculture for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, said the event was off to a good start.
"The move in here was a little hectic, but everything has gone smoothly," Steenbergen said. "Even the weather has been nice."
Oklahomans were well represented in the first go-round. Beth Ogle, from Kinta, rode GK Clean Money to fourth place. Stacy Charette, from Sallisaw, on Pie Sky Promises finished in sixth.
The riders are competing for more than half-a-million dollars, with added purse money of $90,000. Racing continues today, starting at 9 a.m. with the first half of the first go-round Futurity. The second half begins at 6:30 p.m.Archive ID: 669730