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A Burner Lexicon: Ranger

Posted in A Burner Lexicon, and Burning Man

A Black Rock Ranger riding on a Mutant Vehicle. Image by Ranger Trapper.

Ranger, –noun, Friendly folks in khaki who keep you safe. The original group, the Black Rock Rangers, were created at That Thing in the Desert in 1992 by Danger Ranger. Their khaki clothing was selected for its ability to blend in to the playa dust of Black Rock City. Most regional events of any size will feature their own version, usually dressed in the same colors.

The Rangers will be quick to tell you they are not event security, but rather volunteers who mediate disputes, aid the dehydrated, and prevent yahoos from making your fuel store blow up with their cigarette. They are effectively the nervous system of the community, helping to maintain its health and sanity. It’s also their job to act relatively normal in front of LEOs, emergency medical personnel, and other agents of Reality Camp. They remain sober so you don’t have too — and they count the hours till they get off duty.

Compare with: Greeter.

The ability of experienced Rangers to fade from notice until they’re needed but appear the moment they are is something I have always admired. It confuses me when people get nervous when they come visit your camp — don’t stop what you’re doing, just smile, offer them some water or a place to sit down, and get back to it.

After being a Burner for more than a decade I recently had my first experience rangering at a small regional event. It was an great experience and I know I’ll do it again.

Other entries in A Burner Lexicon can be found at

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