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Sherry Ray Ebert

Tomoka ~ Podcast Interview with Sherry Ray Ebert


Thanks to Sherry for taking the time for this interview about one of her favorite dogs, Tomoka. For 33 years, Sherry Ebert was part of the Harold and Sherry Ray team that trained and campaigned the famed Smith Setters. During those years, Sherry helped develop 22 champions including Field Trial Hall of Fame inductees Tomoka and The Performer.

SA Podcast27_Sherry Ray Ebert

 Here are report excerpts from some of Tomoka’s wins:

National Shooting Dog Futurity, 1971
Baldwinsville, New York, September
Judges: Gene Galloway, Rich Tuttle

“Tomoka, white, black, tan and ticked setter dog bred and owned by Elwin G. Smith of  Wexford, Pa., handled by Harold Ray, topped a field of fifty in the Eighth National Shooting Dog Futurity when he climaxed his thirty minute effort with a sterling bit of pheasant work. He pointed loftily, then relocated with the sharpness and sagacity of a seasoned performer. ’Twas likely this spectacular bit that earned him premier laurels.”

Trachaven Ironpants, second, with handler George Tracy. Doug Ray, young
son of the Harold Rays. Invincible, third, with Mrs. T. J. (Edna) Morgan, wife
of owner. Tomoka, first place with handler Harold Ray. Standing: Verle Farrow,
R. G. Wehle, Earl A. Rogers, Richard C. Shear, Rich Tuttle and Gene Galloway,
judges; Sherry Ray.

Grand National Grouse Dog Futurity, 1971
Marienville, Pa., November 16
Judges: Dr. Thomas M. Flanagan, Charles P. Fogg
Reporter: Ki Vandemore

“Tomoka, running in the ninth brace, was a bit slow to hit his best strike, perhaps the terrain to blame more than anything, but at ten he began to widen his scope and really laid out forwardly to the finish. He runs with a high tail, almost motionless until he slows and changes stride, and then it cracks although not appreciably.”

“In his second series effort, Tomoka was head and heels above the field, for after transversing both sides of the back course, he slammed into a thrilling point, tail and head jacked skyward, a majestic pose. Even when his bracemate came upon the scene and made a complete circle around him, took his bird out and gave a lusty chase, Tomoka was still poised regally, a performance to impress the most fastidious.”

Left to right, front: Elhew Huckster, forth with Richard Shear; Dillie O’s Jill,
third with William C. Dillon; Whippoorwill, second with Lloyd Riss, and
Tomoka, first with Harold Ray.
Standing: Glenn Williams, Richard Noyes,
Mrs. Thomas M. Flanagan, Vance Stroup, Mrs. Robert Caldwell, Charles Fogg
and Dr. Thomas M. Flanagan, judges; Ki Vandemore, Robert A. Caldwell,
Elwin G. Smith and wife, Inez.

Illinois Open Shooting Dog Championship, 1974
Ohio, Ill., April 19
Judges: Bill Allen, John Rex Gates
Reporter: Ki Vandemore

“Climaxing a brilliant year for the Smith Kennels, Harold Ray guided the fortune-destined white, black and heavily ticked setter male Tomoka to the 1974 Illinois Open Shooting Dog Championship. Tomoka, just four years of age, owned by Elwin and Inez Smith of Wexford, Pa., ran in the second brace of the one-hour finals, scored six paramount finds, added two natural backs and was a veritable mine-sweeper on the ground with a blazing effort. Once again the lovely Sherry Ray ably assisted her husband with scouting chores and the two came near to sweeping the entire program of placements.”

“Tomoka. The name alone singular enough to set him apart, had his fortune and destiny shaped yet as a youngster. Out of Dr. Thomas Flanagan’s noted sire Grouse Ridge John, another Smith champion, Susan’s Lady Bird, “John” has been endowed with many inherited qualities which have been nurtured by Harold and Sherry Ray to make him one of the most ebullient dogs to ever run the circuit. He always points the same, flag-pole stiff tail, uplifted chin, drinking the scent of his game, all the while with intensity and a love for what he is doing.Winner of the National Shooting Dog and Grouse Futurities, runner-up in the National Prairie Chicken Shooting Dog Championship, runner-up in the Georgia Shooting Dog Championship, winner of the highly contested Masters Shooting Dog Championship, Tomoka has proven to one and all that he is a great one.”

National Open Shooting Dog Championship, 1977
Union Springs, Ala., January 17
Judges: J. D. Boss, Parke C. Brinkley
Reporter: Verle Farrow

“Tomoka, white, black and ticked setter male, coming seven years of age, owned by Elwin G. and Inez Smith of Wexford, Pa., and Waynesboro, Ga., and handled by Harold Ray, was named 1977 National Open Shooting Dog Champion in the sixteenth renewal of the stake. The trial was held for the fourth successive year over the famed Sedgefield Plantation just north of Union Springs, Ala. There were 58 starters drawn from 72 nominations, the field consisting of 48 pointers and ten setters. The running began on Monday, January 17, and concluded on Sunday, January 23.”

“Tomoka ran in the second brace Friday morning when conditions were excellent and he and his bracemate, Pantagleize, made the most of the situation. He had a good covey find, a single and was found on point at time several hundred yards ahead of where he was last seen, and had another big covey. He backed positively and willingly when the opportunity afforded and was charged with an unproductive. His ground heat was powerful and aggressive, and when picked up he was still ready to go another hour and a half. His performance was no doubt the best witnessed in the stake during the four years the Championship has been held at Sedgefield Plantation and rivaled the best at Hawfield or Di-Lane.”

“Tomoka, the new champion, has been in the limelight since his outstanding win of the National Shooting Dog Futurity at Baldwinsvile, N.Y. in October, 1971. This win, his most impressive yet, was his fourth championship. In combining the bloodlines of the Smith Kennels with Dr. Thomas M. Flanagan’s strain of setters, Elwin Smith  has produced a worthy representative of the breed.”

“Tomoka was braced with Pantagleize (Alvin Nitchman), winner of the Championship in 1975, and it was an exciting heat from beginning to end. Both dogs were in top form and, as the bird score indicates, it was an evenly matched brace. Both dogs were found on point when time expired, and each had had two finds previously. Tomoka, in the opinion of most, had a slight edge by virtue of a slightly more powerful, aggressive ground pattern. It was indeed fortunate that these two contenders were braced together; otherwise, a second series might have been required to separate them.”

Tomoka, the winner, is posed by a proud Elwin G. Smith. Standing, from left:
J. D. (Duke) Boss, judge; Sherry Ray, George L. Harden, Jr., Parke C. Brinkley,
judge; and Mrs. Elwin Smith holding the Hawfield Trophy.

List of Championship Wins
1st, 1971 National Shooting Dog Futurity
1st, 1971 Grand National Grouse Futurity
Winner, 1972 New England Open SD Championship
Winner, 1973 Georgia Open SD Championship
Runner-up, 1973 National Open Prairie Chicken SD Championship
Runner-up, 1974 Georgia Open SD Championship
1st, 1974 Masters Open SD (still a Classic)
Winner, 1974 Illinois Open SD Championship
Runner up, 1976 North Carolina Open SD Championship
Runner up, 1976 Illinois Open SD Championship
Runner-up, 1976 National Open Prairie Chicken SD Championship
Winner, 1977 National Open SD Championship
Runner-up, 1978 Illinois Open SD Championship

Tomoka had a total of 26 wins during his career


Tomoka exhibiting his signature lofty style on point.

Sherry, Harold Ray and Tomoka.

All photos courtesy of The American Field Publishing.



Running Dog


Strideaway is an online publication founded in 2008. We are dedicated to promoting the great sport of American pointing dog field trials, in particular American Field sanctioned trials for pointers and setters. Our objective is to present the voices and ideas of experienced trainers, handlers, breeders and other knowledgeable participants and enthusiasts from the past to the present — amateurs and professionals alike. Whether All-Age or Shooting Dog, Horseback or Walking Trials, we place particular emphasis on wild bird field trials and the dogs that compete in them. We present richly illustrated articles and stories, podcast interviews and other types of media on a regular basis with the hope of providing an ever expanding, searchable archive of information relevant to pointing dog field trials.Read article

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