Wednesday, April 25, 2001
Texas Rangers still hitting
By Bill Whitaker
Reporter-News Staff Writer
FORT GRIFFIN One riot, one
Ranger may be the rule, but it takes a few more of the tough
Texas lawmen to make a successful reunion.
And when they do gather, all you have to
do is follow the sound of gunfire.
So it went this week when nine retired Texas
Rangers held a reunion at Clifford and Lynne Teinerts ranch
on the site of old Fort Griffin today a ghost town but
once one of the rowdiest, most lawless towns in the American West.
Besides eating and reminiscing, the retired
Rangers spent Tuesday morning demonstrating their proficiency
with firearms something they do once a year to keep their
Ranger commission intact as well as their pride.
Theyre good, said Abilene-based
Texas Ranger Calvin Cox, who oversaw the shooting for the record.
They still got it.
If nine seems a small number, its
partially the result of the few men kept on Ranger rolls. As decreed
by the Texas Legislature, there can be no more than 107 active-duty
Rangers at any one time.
That may explain the camaraderie they speak
of. Although the Rangers are spread out when covering Texas
254 counties, they fondly recall assisting each other in investigations,
sometimes sharing close quarters while laying low in troubled
towns and tense situations.
Its really about what you go
through, retired Ranger Joe Wilie explained. We may
be spread out, but depending on whats happening, we might
be sleeping together on a bank floor or speeding down the highway
during a shoot-out.
Retired Capt. Bob Mitchell recalls once
trying to keep such a low profile in Hillsboro during one case
that he spent the night in jail rather than reveal his imposing
presence by checking in at a motel.
But it was a nice, new jail,
he said, and the mattresses were lice-free.
If the Texas Rangers retired or active
are small in number, they certainly stand taller in stature
than most lawmen, judging from movies and television shows. That
doesnt mean confusion doesnt arise.
Retired Texas Ranger George Frasier, 62,
who serves as a preacher for Colemans Church of the Nazarene,
recalls once being confronted by a Cub Scout who was touring the
Stephens County Sheriffs Office.
Are you a real Texas Ranger?
the boy asked.
Yes, the Ranger said.
Well, the boy continued, and
without missing a beat, how many home runs have you hit?
If such confusion is humbling, the new technology
embraced by todays Texas Rangers is completely baffling.
Just the same, the retired Rangers are still grateful they served
when they did.
No matter how advanced todays
Rangers are, we older Rangers still feel we were better equipped
than the guys who came before us, Mitchell said. I
mean, I never had to ride a horse to El Paso. And in the old days,
it seems some Ranger was always having to ride a horse to El Paso!
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©2001, Abilene Reporter-News / Texnews / E.W. Scripps.