“Sooner Black & Tans Kennel” was established in 1979 by Ed Abel of Yukon, Oklahoma. A prominent trial attorney in Oklahoma, he is the Senior Partner in a large Oklahoma City Law Firm. Although he was recently recognized in a national publication as one of the top trial lawyers in America, he says, “I am probably better known for my hounds than I am for my accomplishments as an attorney”.
(Ed Abel, Norris Hart, and Bryan Bradley)
During his busy professional life he has never lost his love for hunting or hounds. In addition to his kennel operation he has also served many years as the attorney and reporter for the Oklahoma Federation of Coon Hunters, for the Oklahoma State Fox & Wolf Hunters Association, and for the Oklahoma Federation of Sporting Dogs. He was appointed a Commissioner on the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission by then Governor David Walters and served an eight-year term. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors and four terms as President of the American Black & Tan Association from 1980 through 1992.
Ed began hunting with hounds at the age of five by accompanying his father on squirrel hunts. Later, when he was old enough to stay out at night, his father took him coon hunting. Ed says, “It seems that my father always had a Black & Tan hound that was like a member of our family. These hounds were not only hunting companions, but playmates when I was small. As a child, whenever someone saw me around town they would also see my hound”.
Ed has owned many fine hounds, but perhaps his most famous pair of hounds were Gr. Ch. Gr. Nite Ch. ‘PR’ Tenn. Big Wheel and Gr. Nite Ch. ‘PR’ Tenn. Liza Jane. These two have served as the “foundation stock” for the “Sooner Black & Tans Kennel”. Many hounds currently in the kennel trace their ancestry directly back to “Big Wheel” or “Liza Jane”. Some of the current hounds have “Big Wheel” on the top and bottom side of their pedigree.
After losing his best hound in a tragic hunting accident, Ed found “Big Wheel” and “Liza Jane” in the kennels of Tam Young in Adamsville, Tennessee. After going to Tennessee and hunting with them he was able to persuade Mr. Young to sell him both hounds. Upon returning to Oklahoma he adopted the name “Sooner Black & Tans Kennel” and embarked on an extensive advertising and hunting program, promoting these two hounds and his kennel. Since that time he has become one of the top Black & Tan breeders in the world today.
In 1987, after his retirement from the military, Norris Hart became a partner with Ed in the kennel operation. Together they began a search for quality females to add to the kennel and have expanded the kennel from approximately 8 to the current inventory of 41 hounds. Norris states, “The term “brood bitch” is not a dirty word around our kennel. It’s an honored title given only to the very best females that exhibit the qualities worth replicating. We are proud of our females. Each has proven herself and each has an outstanding track record producing quality pups”. Norris has since retired.
Even with a “state-of-the-art” kennel and “high-tech” computer operations, Ed along with Kennel Manager, Connie, put in a lot of “old-fashioned” hard work to insure that pups and started hounds offered to the public are of the highest quality. Ed proudly states, “I am committed to producing young hounds and pups at least equal to, and perhaps superior, to any found anywhere in the world today”.