by Becky NewellThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Jess Elrod and Wright Smart Olena
A rope-off in the senior heading finals between Wright Smart Olena and Jess Elrod of Sanger, Texas, and Whos Miss Larkin and Jay Lyn Wadhams of Pueblo, Colorado, kept the audience on the edge of its seats on November 20, the last night of the 2010 AQHA World Championship Show.
In the finals, Jess and Jay Lyn both scored a 225.5, so the judges brought them back for a repeat performance. Jess won the rope-off with another score of 225.5. When all was said and done, it was hard to tell whose smile was bigger: Jess’ or “Harper’s” owner, Eric Dunn of Norwich, Kansas. The 11-year-old gelding, who is by Lenas Wright On and out of Colonel Minnie by Colonel Mickie, was bred by Harper Connor of Houston. Eric has owned the chestnut gelding for a little more than a year and had him in training with AQHA Professional Horseman Steve Orth. Steve couldn’t ride Harper in the finals, so he put him in Jess' capable hands. “This is our first world championship,” Eric told the Journal. “He’s a great horse.” Harper has qualified for the AQHA and the Adequan Select world championship shows in working cow horse off and on since 2003. He has placed in the top 10 in working cow horse twice, once in the amateur and once in the open. “We decided to point him toward team roping, too, to see how he’d do,” said Eric, who has roped off the gelding but admits there’s no way he could take the horse into the AQHA World Show arena.