The Colorado Mounted Rangers / Colorado Rangers ~ It’s not a job. It’s an honor.
Did you know Texas is not the only state with Rangers?
While doing some unrelated research, I happened upon the fact that Colorado and New Mexico (late 1800s)—and probably some other states—have Rangers in their law enforcement arsenals.
The Colorado Rangers “trace their roots to the Jefferson Rangers, first organized in 1859 to keep the peace in the unofficial Jefferson Territory during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. Rangers were often found guarding shipments of gold coming out of the camps.”
In 1861, when Colorado became a territory, the Jefferson Rangers were reorganized as the Colorado Rangers, “serving as Colorado’s only statewide law enforcement through the late 1920’s. The Colorado Rangers were fashioned after the well known Texas Rangers and often served both law enforcement and militia roles in the early days of the Colorado Territory.”In the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass, the Colorado Rangers were instrumental in stopping the Confederate advance toward the gold mines, cutting off much needed funding of the war effort.
Rangers have been called upon by Colorado’s Governors to keep the peace during times of emergency, natural disasters, and during civil unrest, like the labor wars in Colorado’s mining towns. They upheld the law during Prohibition, have helped break up organized crime, and routed out corruption in the government.
Like the Texas Rangers, they protect the Governor of their state. And, like their Texas counterparts, they were “thanked” and disbanded in the late 1920s, only to be reinstated by Governor Teller Ammons, “who thought that the great, western State of Colorado should not let this colorful, historic group of lawmen ride quietly into the sunset and be heard from no more.” They were reorganized as a volunteer group, which is how the Colorado Mounted Rangers function today, serving as an unpaid auxiliary to any agency that requests their assistance.
The Colorado Mounted Rangers / Colorado Rangers have responded and assisted in natural disasters across Colorado and conduct search and rescue efforts, especially in the Southwestern part of the State.
A FUN FACT
In 1921, the Colorado Rangers adopted Harley Davidson motorcycles as their new “mount.”
“Colorado Ranger Sergeant Zebulon Montgomery “Monty” Pike in Trinidad, Colorado, with his Harley Davidson motorcycle equipped with a sidecar, circa 1923. Note the extended wheel on the sidecar to fit in wagon ruts of the day. Sergeant Pike is a descendant of explorer Zebulon M. Pike, credited with discovering Pikes Peak. Photo courtesy of Grandson Brian Pike.”
[Source: the website history of the Colorado Mounted Rangers/Colorado Rangers by retired Ranger Carlton “Doc” McClure, official Historian and author of History of the Colorado Mounted Rangers and Colorado Rangers. http://www.coloradoranger.org/index.php/history].