World's Greatest Horseman

Ron Emmons wins with Olena Oak for second year in a row.

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

Ron Emmons tosses his hat after finishing the fence work February 2 in the World's Greatest Horseman competition while riding Olena Oak.

Ron Emmons tosses his hat February 2 after finishing the fence work portion of the World's Greatest Horseman finals. Ron and Olena Oak won for the second year. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos from the finals, scroll to the slide show below.

For the second year in a row, Ron Emmons has won the World’s Greatest Horseman competition with Olena Oak.

On February 2, Ron and the sorrel stallion stayed consistent to keep in the hunt during clean-slate finals at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions in San Angelo, Texas. The 10 horses in the finals competed in herd work, similar to cutting; rein work, similar to reining; steer stopping; and fence work, similar to the cow work portion of working cow horse.

“(I’m) ecstatic,” the Ione, California, horseman said after the win. “Just excited. It’s a great event, and great horses to compete against. To come and win it twice is pretty awesome – to be able to get by those guys.

Ron and “Ernie” entered the final event, fence work, tied with Boyd Rice on Oh Cay N Short. Boyd worked first and scored a 215.5.

“He left the door open a little,” Ron said.

Ron and Ernie busted through the door with a 219, good enough for their second win.

“I drew a good cow,” Ron said. “He came out and acted a little wild at first, and then he just calmed down. As soon as I saw him calm down, I said, ‘It’s time to go down the fence.’ (Ernie) made a huge first turn and had to actually hold (the cow). The cow did not want to turn, and (Ernie) had to stand there and hold his shoulder against him until that cow did turn. And after that, I knew I had him.”

Ron tossed his hat into the air.

“After that, it was up to the judges, but I figured it would be a good score,” he said.

Olena Oak is a 2002 sorrel stallion by Smart Chic Olena and out of Fritzs Oak E Doakie by Doc’s Oak. He was bred by David Nogle of Palatine, Illinois.

He was owned by Mel Smith and his daughter, Nichole Scott of Paso Robles, California, and in 2012, when Ron and “Ernie” won the first time, Mel talked about how he chose the personable stallion as a youngster.

“He didn’t want to continue with the stallion (operation),” Nichole said, “so LaDona (Emmons) bought out his half.”

Ron’s wife, has been friends with Nichole for a long time, and the three of them have continued as a decision-making team seamlessly, both owners agreed.

They haven’t decided yet whether Ernie will return to defend his title again.

“He’ll let us know when he’s through showing,” Nichole said.

Journal Coverage of the NRCHA Celebration of Champions