Olena Oak Is New NRCHA Leading Money-Earner

The two-time winner of the World's Greatest Horseman is now the No. 1 National Reined Cow Horse Association money-earning horse.

From the National Reined Cow Horse Association

Olena Oak, shown by Ron Emmons, became the new NRCHA leading money-earning horse June 18, 2015. (Credit: Stephanie Duquette)

When Olena Oak (Smart Chic Olena-Fritzs Oak E Doakie by Doc's Oak) placed third in the 2015 CD Memorial Bridle Spectacular at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Derby, he earned $10,200 – and that paycheck made him the new No. 1 NRCHA money-earning horse. 

Olena Oak, a 2002 stallion, has career NRCHA earnings of $339,898 following his placing at the CD Survivor Memorial Bridle Spectacular in Paso Robles, California.

"I'm tickled to death," said Ron Emmons, Olena Oak's trainer. "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 when 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 Emmons said. "I'm just excited. I'm excited for Ron on a huge accomplishment, and the horse."

Ron Emmons throws his hat after he and Olena Oak win their second World's Greatest Horseman championship.

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-Jameen Gay by Toby Gay Bar), whose official NRCHA earnings are $335,612. The 1999 stallion won the NRCHA World's Greatest Horseman three times with Russell Dilday, 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," Emmons 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!" Emmons said, laughing. He and Olena Oak have won the World's Greatest Horseman championship together twice, while Dilday and Topsails Rien Maker have won it three times.  

To read more about Olena Oak and his accomplishments, visit his website at www.OlenaOak.com.