Lauri Givens holds the gold trophy won by husband Charles "Chuck" Givens and Sugar Rullah in pole bending at the 2012 Adequan Select World.
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by Tara ChristiansenThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Sugar Rullah wasn’t feeling too hot at the 2011 Adequan Select World Championship Show. Not wanting to push his faithful show mare, owner Charles “Chuck” Givens didn’t run her and instead won the 2011 pole bending title on Leavin Em Wishin.
This year, lookin’ to defend his title, Chuck saddled up his veteran speed horse.
Bred by Henry Wright of Dry Ridge, Kentucky, Sugar Rullah is an 11-year-old bay mare by Sugar Rancher and out of the Rip Rullah mare Rippa Rullah.
The Givens purchased Sugar Rullah from her breeder back in 2003, and it’s been history ever since. Her earliest win came in 2005, when she won the junior pole bending world championship. Countless top-10 world show awards – in both barrel racing and pole bending – and year-end high-points are among her accolades. Most recently, Lauri, Chuck’s lovely bride, rode the mare to the 2012 amateur pole bending reserve world championship and Chuck captured the barrel racing title at the 2010 Adequan Select World.
“She just doesn’t take this trip very well, so she’s a little tighter and doesn’t extend all the way out and really run like she can,” Chuck said during his Journal Winning Run interview. “It’s a long trip – it’s 17 hours for us. It’s really hard on her.
“Last year she didn’t get to show at all. When she got here she was sore on all four legs and swelled up so we scratched her here … But she’s done a lot better this year.”
When in the throes of adverse conditions, Chuck said it’s the mare’s tenacity that pushes her to the front of the pack.
“She’s such a big-hearted mare – she’s always good,” said the Richmond, Kentucky, horseman. “She’s won everything we’ve taken her to. She’s just a dream of a lifetime to own.”
Even though she’s been hitting the show trail hard over the last seven years, Sugar Rullah does sport one colt: a 3-year old by the name of Super Fame. By renowned barrel-horse sire Dash Ta Fame, Super Fame’s mission in life is to pass on the talent and athleticism that his parents passed on to him.
“He covered his first crop of mares this year,” Chuck said of their sorrel stallion. “I think he bred 27 mares as a 3-year-old … We’re never gonna break him or ride him – we’re just gonna breed him and try to have the best stallion we can have out of him and not mix our thoughts on what we’re doing.”
Since Sugar Rullah was in her prime when the Givens wanted to breed to Dash Ta Fame, they pulled an embryo from their mare and had a recipient mare carry Super Fame. Now 11 years old, Sugar Rullah has earned her spot in the mare motel.
“We’ll just let her carry this foal,” Chuck said of the 2014 foal they plan on breeding for next spring. “(We’ll) just let her be a mare – she’s done enough.”
Sugar Rullah has certainly earned herself a special place in Chuck’s heart based on her own heart and athleticism, but Chuck said that Sugar Rullah can be quiet, well, full of herself.
“(She’s) just like a real rich female that’s real good lookin’ – that’s what she is. And she knows she can be that way and get away with it. And we let her. So it’s worth it,” he added with a smile.
There are a few other women who have earned themselves a special corner of Chuck’s heart.
“My youngest daughter, Kelsey, just started college. She got a scholarship to Georgetown and played soccer and started as a freshman the night before last,” Chuck shared. “We’re gonna go to all her games.”
Of older daughter Brittany, Chuck cannot say enough good things about the talented horsewoman she’s become.
“She is the true horseperson in our family – she can outride any of us all. She trains for other people and she rides with us,” he added.
But it’s Lauri who really keeps the wheel turning at home, and more importantly, at shows.
“Last night, I had to run five times in an hour. They had the classes back to back, which is really hard on us people at this age and they should remember that,” he added with a knowing look. “I had to run five runs, and I made a mess of two of the last three, but I ended up reserve world champion in the stake race with my wife’s mare.
“I attribute (my ability to switch horses) to my wife – she does most of the work, everybody knows that.”
Twenty-seven years ago, Chuck and Lauri met at the 1985 AQHA World Championship Show. Two years later, they married, and after promising Lauri that he’d make her famous, he’s branded her initials – L.A. – onto every horse they’ve owned.
Between all the horses, the wins, the kids and the good rides, there’s not too much more a guy could ask for in life. And Chuck pretty much sums it all up: “It’s a pretty good life.”