01 OlenaOak REmmons 13PM

Olena Oak Becomes NRCHA No. 1 Money-Earning Horse

01 OlenaOak REmmons 13PMOlena Oak & Ron Emmons • Photo by Primo MoralesWhen Olena Oak (Smart Chic Olena x Fritzs Oak E Doakie x Doc’s Oak) placed fourth in the CD Survivor 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.

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