May 25, 1997 in Idaho

Rancher Has 17 Steers Killed By Lightning Bolt

Associated Press

Ted Frome lost $10,000 in a split second when 17 of his steers were killed by a single lightning bolt.

Renell Weeks was raising the cattle for Frome, a lawyer in Afton, Wyo., on his Swan Valley ranch when they were killed May 17.

A funnel cloud from a passing hail storm frightened the steers, and they wound up crowded together in the corner of a pasture when the lightning struck, Weeks said Friday.

“You’ll probably never see that happen again,” he said.

The lightning strike cost Weeks about $3,000 - the amount he had spent on feed for the animals - and has the potential to cost him even more.

Weeks raises 560 head of cattle for Frome. Under their contract, Frome absorbs 4 percent of losses. After that, Weeks has to pay. Two other steers had died before the lightning strike, Weeks said, one of heart trouble and the other of an injury sustained during shipping. If three more die, it starts coming out of Weeks’ pocket, he said.

The cattle were insured, but Weeks said the policy did not cover lightning.

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