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Olena Oak Becomes NRCHA No. 1 Money-Earning Horse

Press Release
Quarter Horse News
June 24, 2015

When Olena Oak (Smart Chic Olena x Fritzs Oak E Doakie x Doc's Oak) placed third in the CD Memorial Bridle Spectacular at the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Derby on June 19, he earned $10,200, and that paycheck made him the new No. 1 money-earning horse in the NRCHA. Olena Oak, a 2002 stallion, now has career NRCHA earnings of $339,898.

"I'm tickled to death," Ron Emmons, Olena Oak's trainer, said. "It's something I've been trying to do. I knew, coming to Paso Robles, that I needed like $4,000. I just wanted to come place in the Bridle Spectacular, and luckily, out of these tough buggers, I got to place! It's been a goal. When he got to the point where he was 9 and 10 years old, I knew he had a lot left in him. We had won a lot, and I thought, ‘Gosh, I'd sure like to make him the No. 1 horse.’"

Olena Oak, known as "Ernie" around the barn, is owned by Nichole Scott and Ron's wife, LaDona Emmons. Both women were thrilled by the news.

"I am in awe. The bridle horses are so amazing. I think it speaks for all of our horses that are clearly great, and the people riding them. It is a team effort. To own one of them, and have it be one that has gone this far and had this much success, you're just so happy," LaDona said. "I'm just excited. I'm excited for Ron on a huge accomplishment, and the horse."

Scott admitted the news hadn't quite sunk in yet, and acknowledged the efforts of her fellow owners who all strive for their horses' success.

"I think in a way, it's maybe a little unfair because so many other owners have had 10, 20, 30, hundreds of horses, and here I have a handful, and one of them happens to be him. In another way, I feel like this is where he is supposed to be. I want to thank Ron and LaDona for everything they have done, and for loving him and taking care of him. This has always been, and always will be, a partnership between Ron and LaDona and I. This was a big goal, and I don't know where we will go from here, but I know he will always be very well taken care of," Scott said.

Since the summer of 2010, the NRCHA’s No. 1 money-earner had been Topsails Rien Maker (Topsail Cody x Jameen Gay x Toby Gay Bar), whose official NRCHA earnings are $335,612. The 1999 stallion won the NRCHA World's Greatest Horseman competition three times, with Russell Dilday, of Wynnewood, Oklahoma, in the saddle. Dilday owns "Slider" in partnership with Kevin Cantrelle.

"I want to thank Russell for setting the standard we had to go chase. Hopefully we have set it for someone else to chase," Ron said.

And just because Olena Oak has reached the top of the all-time money earners list, don't expect him to fade out of the spotlight.

"He's never going to retire. I'm not, so why should he? We've got to go back to the World's Greatest one more time!" Ron said, laughing. He and Olena Oak have won the World's Greatest Horseman Championship together twice.




Olena Oak, Ron Emmons Win Second Consecutive World's Greatest Horseman Title

By Larri Jo Starkey
The American Quarter Horse Journal
February 3, 2013

In a thrilling, down-to-the-wire fence work finish Saturday, Feb. 2 at Spur Arena in San Angelo, Texas, leading NRCHA professional Ron Emmons claimed his second consecutive World's Greatest Horseman Championship aboard Olena Oak (Smart Chic Olena x Fritzs Oak E Doakie), a 2002 stallion owned in partnership between Nichole Scott and Emmons' wife, LaDona Emmons.

World's Greatest Horseman Champions Ron Emmons and Olena Oak, owned by LaDona Emmons (left) and Nichole Scott.

Emmons and Olena Oak scored a 219.5 in the herd work, a 214.5 in the rein work, a 221.5 in the steer-stopping and 219 in the cow work. While they did not place first in any of the events, the steady stream of above-average scores added up to the winning 874 composite total on four events. The World's Greatest Horseman Championship came with a $25,000 check, a Bob's Custom Saddle and a host of other prizes.

"I'm ecstatic," Emmons said, following the win. "I'm just excited. It's a great deal and a great event, with great horses to compete against. To be able to get by those guys and win a prize is pretty awesome."

Heading into the all-important final event, the cow work, Emmons and Olena Oak were deadlocked with Boyd Rice and Oh Cay N Short (Oh Cay Quixote x Bit Of Shorty), who were first to work down the fence. Their 215.5 score brought their total on four events to 870.5, which held the lead until Emmons and Ernie worked second-to-last in the draw.

"Boyd left the door open," Emmons said. "I knew it was going to end up that the cow would tell us who won. If I could be solid down the fence and not make any mistakes, I knew I could be good."

Emmons' cow acted wild when it first entered the arena, and as soon as it settled down, he took it down the fence. The cow challenged Olena Oak in the first fence turn, but the gritty stallion never weakened.

"The cow did not want to turn. Ernie had to hold his shoulder against it and make it turn. After that, I knew I had him. We made a second turn and circled real tight," the Ione, Calif., horseman said.

As the horn blew to signal the end of the run, Emmons flung his hat high into the Spur Arena rafters as the spectators roared, knowing they had just witnessed a repeat victory.

Olena Oak's co-owners, Nichole Scott and LaDona Emmons, said their confidence in Ron and Ernie overcame the butterflies in their stomachs as they watched their stallion enter the arena for the fence work.

"We just wanted him to go in and have a good run. That's all we want, go have a run and however it ends up, it ends up," LaDona said.

Nichole agreed: "I don't get nervous as much as I used to because Ron and Ernie together are amazing, and whatever they do is whatever they do. They've proven themselves over and over and over."

Nichole previously owned Ernie in partnership with her father, Mel Smith. When he was ready to sell his share of the stallion, it was only natural for LaDona to buy in - a deal they completed late in December.

"The three of us work really well together. Everything is discussed and everything is for the best of the horse. It's not about us," Nichole said.

"I'm blessed to even be a part of it," LaDona said.