Saint Elmos Fire
Mrs. Bode Owens
A History of Crockett County
Bode well remembers the wide open country, very few windmills, and the shortage of water. 1920 had been dry year, and his father Clint Owens, Sr. had pastured some cattle on the Mitch Owens ranch near Rankin. Spring came with a few showers and brought hope that they could bring the cattle back home to the headquarter ranch. Bode and several cowboys were driving the herd. It was on the Harris ranch near where the town of Best, Texas was located later. They bedded the cattle down but they could see a storm brewing in the west.
Standing guard that night Bode experienced a sight he had never seen before, but it made an impression that not many cowboys can relate today. The clouds blew in with an electrical storm. He saw “Saint Elmo’s Fire.” The lightening would strike the base of the cattle’s horns and flash to the tips of the horns like “Sparklers”. History gave this an interesting name, “Saint Elmos” which means “Saint of Fire.”
When the clouds began to disappear, Bode and the boys saw a comet in the West. The cattle turned and walked toward the comet. They had been quiet but when they saw the comet, they started bawling. The storm began to clear and the cattle calmed down. The cowboys started singing to keep them quiet, knowing that the least noise would start a stampede.
In his early ranching career Bode ran Hereford cattle and Rambouilett (sic) Sheep, later changed to breeding Suffolk bucks. He was one of the first ranchers in this area to adopt crossbreeding as a means of producing a superior feed lamb, while producing fine wool from Rambouilett (sic) sheep. His ranch brand is Y.