First Time in Cowtown? No Problem for Sable Emerson at WCRA Cowtown Christmas

Cowtown first-timer Sable Emerson topped the final performance of the WCRA Cowtown Christmas Championships on Friday, December 16 aboard Baby Im Famous.
Sable MIller Emerson and Lulu barrel racing at WCRA Cowtown Christmas.
Sable Miller Emerson and "Lulu," at the 2022 Cowtown Christmas Championships. Image courtesy WCRA by Bull Stock Media.

Sable Emerson clocked a 13.334-second run inside of Cowtown Coliseum to win $1,600 and punch her ticket to the Showdown Round at the WCRA Cowtown Christmas Championships—and she’d never ran there before.

“That is the first time for both Lulu and myself,” Emerson said. “I think we like it! Beforehand, I just wanted to keep her calm. That’s a really quick first barrel. She’s really good in bigger pens, but we haven’t had a chance to run her indoors much. She handled it really great, though.”

Baby Im Famous, “Lulu,” is a 9-year-old mare who was trained and futuritied by Janna Brown during her 5-year-old season. Emerson purchased the red mare from Chris and Hallie Bradford about a year ago. The mare hasn’t been seasoned fully at rodeos herself, but Emerson has been a solid fixture on the Southeastern rodeo scene for multiple years. In 2022, she nominated the Arkansas Rodeo Association Finals and the Louisiana Rodeo Association finals to make it to Cowtown Christmas.

Running in a custom Gordy Alderson snaffle with a gag on the side, and tie-down that her husband, tie-down roper, Seth Emerson made, Sable blasted into the coliseum with one hand on the reins and full speed ahead for her first time, an unlikely approach for a Cowtown first-timer—and she was just as surprised about it.

“I didn’t even know I ran her in there one-handed,” Emerson said. “She was really wanting to go, and I wasn’t really ready for her to take off.”

Passing the first barrel by a step didn’t seem to phase Emerson or Lulu. Up top, she stayed relaxed through the run and Lulu’s long stride made the wicked fast trip look effortless.

“She can turn it quicker, but she’s so fast you never panic, you just keep riding,” Emerson said of the first turn. “She’s so fast it’s scary, honestly.”

The WCRA format is a fit for Emerson, who can’t head out on the road full-time. She resides in Malvern, Arkansas, where her family has owned a pharmacy since the 1890’s. Emerson is a fifth-generation pharmacist who works in the store by day, but when she punches out, it’s straight to the barn with her husband and two blue heelers.

“That’s my life, just work and ride horses,” Emerson said.

Lulu’s explosive speed, paired with the fact that she made mistakes in her first run and clocked well should make the duo fun to watch in the seven-man Showdown Round. Laura Mote and Reb Hot Redbull took the final qualifying spot to the Showdown Round after turning in a 13.362-second run. They also earned $1,200. Third place went to Stevi Hillman and MCM Firewater Dixie, which paid $800 to Hillman for her 13.564. Rounding out the top four was Michelle Darling, who picked up $400 with a 13.701.

Here’s the draw for Saturday’s Showdown Round

  1. Kassie Mowry
  2. Jada Trosper
  3. Laura Mote
  4. Andrea Cline
  5. Halyn Lide
  6. Sable Miller Emerson
  7. Stephanie Fryar