worlds-greatest-horseman-topsails-rien-maker
The list of leading horses, riders and sires in the World's Greatest Horseman competition reflects the versatility required of the event. • Photo by Darrell Dodds.

Top 15: World’s Greatest Horseman All-Time Leaders

The World’s Greatest Horseman title is considered by many to be one of the toughest feats Western performance competitors can attain. It’s four events — herd work, rein work, steer stopping and fence work — completed by one horse and one rider.

Though few have won it, many of the horses and skilled riders return year after year. There are several repeat champions, and many horses have made multiple appearances in the finals.

In recognition of the 2021 competition, which starts today with the preliminaries, Quarter Horse News dug through the stats to find the all-time leading horses, riders, sires and standout dams in the history of the great event, as compiled by Equi-Stat.


Leading Horses

1. Topsails Rien Maker

Pedigree: 99S (Topsail Cody x Jameen Gay x Toby Gay Bar)
Earnings: $131,667
Rider: Russell Dilday, Wynnewood, OK
Owner: K. Cantrelle/R. Dilday
Breeder: Stellato Revocable Trust, Redding, CA
Top Finishes:
• Three-time champion (2008, 2009 and 2011)

2. Katie Starlight

Pedigree: 93M (Grays Starlight x Colonel Gunsmoke x Colonel Freckles)
Earnings: $105,450
Rider: Ted Robinson, Oak View, CA
Owner: Paula & David Hunsicker, Solvang, CA
Breeder: Nick & Julie Arismendi, Clements, CA
Top Finishes:
• Two-time champion (1999 and 2001)

3. Olena Oak

Pedigree: 02S (Smart Chic Olena x Fritzs Oak E Doakie x Doc’s Oak)
Earnings: $95,900
Rider: Ron Emmons, Ione, CA
Owner: Nichole Scott/LaDona Emmons
Breeder: David Nogle, Palatine, IL
Top Finishes:
• Two-time champion (2012 and 2013)

4. Oh Cay N Short

Pedigree: 04G (Oh Cay Quixote x Bit of Shorty x Shorty Lena)
Earnings: $63,375
Rider: Boyd Rice, Weatherford, TX
Owner: Forty-Seven Inc., Weatherford, TX
Breeder: Patty Frerichs Auw, Ogden, IL
Top Finishes:
• Champion (2014)
• Reserve champion (2013)

5. Miss Plain Plain

Pedigree: 92M (Just Plain Colonel x Miss Master Blaster x Master Remedy)
Earnings: $60,750
Rider: Russell Dilday, Wynnewood, OK
Owner: Scott & Darnell Trueblood, Ducor, CA
Breeder: Ward Ranch, Tulare, CA
Top Finishes:
• Two-time reserve champion (2004 and 2005)

RankHorseYOB/Sex/PedigreeEarnings
6Paid By Chic93S (Smart Chic Olena x Oaklynn x Doc’s Oak)$58,650
7Smooth N Cash05G (Smooth As A Cat x Dox Gavacash x Miss N Cash)$56,950
8Just Plain Cat99S (High Brow Cat x Shes Alenaglow Rio x Doc O’Lena)$54,125
9Dom Dualuise07G (Dual Rey x Smart Little Xx x Smart Little Lena)$45,950
10Chex Out This Remedy92S (Doc’s Remedy x Fresno’s Miss Chex x Bueno Chex)$45,245
11Metallic Cat Rose11M (Metallic Cat x Teletrona x Little Trona)$42,000
12Hickory Holly Time10S (One Time Pepto x Hickorys Holly Cee x Doc’s Hickory)$41,250
13Sonita Lena Rey11S (Dual Rey x Sonita Lena Chick x Smart Chic Olena)$41,000
14Duals Lucky Charm13G (Dual Smart Rey x TRR Ms Pepcid Olena x Pepcid)$40,500
15Sparktilion10M (Shining Spark x Cattilion x High Brow Cat)$40,000


Leading Riders

The leading rider in the history of the World’s Greatest Horseman is Russell Dilday of Wynnewood, Oklahoma. Dilday’s top mount is three-time World’s Greatest Champion Topsails Rien Maker.

Here are the top riders in the event by earnings, according to Equi-Stat:

RankRider Top Money-Earning MountEarnings
1Russell DildayTopsails Rien Maker ($131,667)$193,417
2Robert C. “Bob” AvilaPaid By Chic ($58,650)$143,333
3Ted RobinsonKatie Starlight ($105,450)$140,033
4Jake TelfordSparktilion ($40,000)$124,933
5Rob EmmonsOlena Oak ($95,900)$124,442
6Jon RoeserChex Out This Remedy ($40,495)$97,287
7Boyd RiceOh Cay N Short ($63,375)$93,313
8John SwalesMetallic Cat Rose ($42,000)$92,000
9Ron RallsA Chic In Time ($34,000)$90,804
10Corey CushingSonita Lena Rey ($41,000)$90,267
11Kelby PhillipsHickory Holly Time ($41,250)$81,750
12Phillhip RallsDom Dualuise ($45,950)$79,450
13Todd CrawfordPlay Dual Rey ($24,875)$78,867
14Robbie BoycePG Dry Fire ($25,775)$77,470
15Jake GorrellSmooth N Cash ($56,950)$77,408


Leading Sires

The list of leading sires in this four-event competition is Equi-Stat Elite $14 Million Sire Smart Chic Olena, who is the father of two-time winner Olena Oak, as well as other top horses, such as 2000 Champion Paid By Chic.

RankSirePedigreeEarnings
1Smart Chic Olena(Smart Little Lena x Gay Sugar Chic x Gay Bar King)$320,461
2Grays Starlight(Peppy San Badger x Doc’s Starlight x Doc Bar)$236,170
3Shining Spark(Genuine Doc x Diamonds Sparkle x Mr Diamond Dude)$145,616
4Topsail Cody(Joe Cody x Doc Bar Linda x Doc Bar)$131,667
5Dual Rey(Dual Pep x Nurse Rey x Wyoming Doc)$139,775
6One Time Pepto(Peptoboonsmal x One Time Soon x Smart Little Lena)$92,986
7Smart Little Lena(Doc O’Lena x Smart Peppy x Peppy San)$81,845
8Just Plain Colonel(Colonel Freckles x Gray Nelly x Blue Whammy Cat)$78,892
9Metallic Cat(High Brow Cat x Chers Shadow x Peptoboonsmal)$74,679
10Oh Cay Quixote(Doc Quixote x Oh Cay San x Peppy San)$63,375
11Smooth As A Cat(High Brow Cat x Shes Pretty Smooth x Wheeling Peppy)$60,549
12Little Lenas Legend(Smart Little Lena x Dox Elegant Girl x Peppy San Badger)$58,500
13Lenas Wright On(Smart Little Lena x Slide Me Again x Isle Breeze)$58,375
14High Brow Cat(High Brow Hickory x Smart Little Kitty x Smart Little Lena)$57,000
15Reminic(Doc’s Remedy x Fillinic x Arizona Junie)$56,100


Leading Dams

It’s unusual for a broodmare to have one offspring with the talent and versatility to compete in the World’s Greatest Horseman. It’s extremely rare for a mare to have more than one.

The statisticians at Equi-Stat compiled a list of leading broodmares who have been represented by more than one money-earning offspring in the World’s Greatest competition.

According to the records, only these 10 mares have pulled off the feat:

1. Sheza Shinette

Pedigree: 98M (Shining Spark x Chicks And Chex x Smart Chic Olena)
Progeny Earnings:  $66,433
Money-winners: 3
• Heza Diamond Spark ($35,500, by Diamond J Star)
• Hes Shinettes CD ($21,533, by CD Olena)
• Once A Von A Time ($9,400, by Von Reminic)

2. Paula Tari

Pedigree: 82M (Tari Glo x Pauls Marathon x Doc Paul)
Progeny Earnings:  $36,500
Money-winners: 2
• A Chic In Time ($36,000, by Smart Chic Olena)
• Hey Houston ($500, by Smart Chic Olena)

3. Genuine Redbud

Pedigree: 91M (Genuine Doc x Seven S Margarita x Son O Leo)
Progeny Earnings:  $29,000
Money-winners: 2
• Nic It In The Bud ($26,125, by Reminic)
• Dun It Big ($375, by Hollywood Dun It)

4. Dual Lena

Pedigree: 92M (Dual Pep x Miss Macalena x Doc O’Lena)
Progeny Earnings:  $23,500
Money-winners: 2
• Lenas Buddy Nic (PT) ($18,250, by Nic It In The Bud)
• Dueling Chic Olena (PT) ($5,250, by Smart Chic Olena)

5. Miss Cee Nita

Pedigree: 85M (Peponita x Cee Miss Holly x Cee Bars)
Progeny Earnings:  $17,975
Money-winners: 2
• Cee Mr Hickory ($11,500, by Doc’s Hickory)
• Hickorys Holly Cee ($6,475, by Doc’s Hickory)

6. Gay Freckles Rio

Pedigree: 82M (Colonel Freckles x Bissie Gay Bar x Johnie Gay Bar)
Progeny Earnings:  $15,750
Money-winners: 2
• Lone Star Chicolena ($9,000, by Smart Chic Olena)
• HA Gay Freckles ($6,750, by Steady Tradition)

7. Savannah Hickory

Pedigree: 96M (Doc’s Hickory x Savannah White x Smart Little Lena)
Progeny Earnings:  $10,500
Money-winners: 2
• Honey Bees ($9,500, by Peptoboonsmal)
• Reymanator ($1,000, by Dual Rey)

8. Chelsea Lena

Pedigree: 90M (Smart Peppy Doc x Bill’s Star Lita x Hollywood Bill)
Progeny Earnings: $8,688
Money-winners: 2
• Smart N Chexy ($5,750, by Bueno Chexinic)
• Lena Spark ($2,938, by Shining Spark)

9. Bonnie Smoke (PT)

Pedigree: 81M (Mr Gun Smoke x Roper’s Calcutta [PT] x Skippa Rope [PT])
Progeny Earnings: $7,500
Money-winners: 2
• Bonnie Lena (PT) ($5,000, by Jab O Lena)
• Bonnies Stranger (PT) ($2,500, by SMF Lenas Award)

10. Leo Night Glo

Pedigree: 81M (War Leo Jr x Les’ Night Glo x Les Glo)
Progeny Earnings: $1,304
Money-winners: 2
• Look At Her Glo ($750, by CD O Cody)
• Night Time Shiner ($554, by Shining Spark)