October 12, 2004
Founded in 1901, the Arizona Rangers helped apprehend outlaws during Arizona’s wild territorial days.
After its revival in 1957, the organization continues to assist law enforcement and raise funds for children’s charities.
The Rangers have 14 statewide branches, known as companies. The Phoenix, Scottsdale and Superstition companies serve the Valley and have about 40 volunteers combined.
Typical services include directing traffic and providing private security at events such as the annual Parada del Sol in Scottsdale and the El Tour de Phoenix bicycle race.
The well-trained Rangers carry guns and badges. They wear uniforms and their services are free. All they ask for are donations.
Chandler resident Ty Mayer, the Scottsdale company’s internal affairs officer, got involved two years ago.
"We’re not wanna-be cops," Mayer said. "The idea is to serve the people."
Rangers often provide impromptu police assistance. Mayer recalls diverting people and traffic for more than two hours in the summer sun while Tempe police dealt with a ticking device in a trash bin.
Demand for Rangers varies all over Arizona. Rural areas with limited law enforcement resources readily embrace the organization’s services. In smaller municipalities, such as Williams, Rangers’ duties can include transporting prisoners.
But, aiding children’s charities remains a top priority for the organization.
Last week, the Scottsdale company donated $500 to the Arizona Youth Rough Riders, a nonprofit organization in Apache Junction that provides a positive outlet for youngsters through horse care. The Rangers offered to help after learning about a rash of burglaries that hit the horse property hard.
The Thomas J. Pappas Elementary School for homeless children also is a frequent recipient of donations.
"We just save up our money until we feel like we’re ready to make a donation," Mayer said.
This past Saturday, the Superstition company directed traffic and provided security at an open house for Canyon State Academy boys ranch in Queen Creek.
"If we can help do something to keep more police on the street, then we will," said Charles Bart, a Superstition member and the organization’s state secretary. The east Mesa resident said he often assists with freeway accidents until police arrive.
Preserving Ranger tradition is also part of the mission. Superstition members wear Western shirts, carry revolvers and often work events on horseback.
"A lot of people might look at us like we’re a bunch of vigilantes, which we’re not," Bart said. "We’re all a bunch of great down-to-earth people giving something back to the community."
To learn more about Arizona Rangers, call (480) 899-3988.